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CAROL REED'S IRISH FILM NOIR 'ODD MAN OUT' W/ JAMES MASON

Robert Beatty bribes adorable urchin to find his mate YEAR: 1947
James Mason is always intense, even when he's playing comedy, and this is no comedy: The most riveting scenes seem initially very normal and, for this wounded Irish nationalist leader left for dead and, in darkened alleys and hidden rooms, constantly in-hiding, he seems to come across things that, at first, seem much different than they turn out being, making this ODD MAN way, way OUT there while at the same time, you feel in the desperate man's perspective...

So the suspense relies on a fish out of water while perhaps the best moments occur for only ten or so minutes in the beginning, as we see through what's truly a semi-deranged mind to begin with: having been holed-up in prison for many years, even his own "soldiers" don't trust his instincts and capabilities to pull off a relatively otherwise in-and-out office heist that in fact, Mason's confounded and lost, intrepidly named Johnny McQueen backed by tough, asserted Robert Beatty; weaselly Cyril Cusack; and especially full-lipped ingenue Kathleen Ryan...

James Mason in hiding in ODD MAN OUT Rating: ***
And while much of the film takes us on a hallucinatory mind-trip, perhaps there needed more of an initial straight road for our hero in order for the moments of askew perception to mean more to the bleak, post-war canvas, painted capably by director Carol Reed...

Although his THE THIRD MAN, only two years later, would far surpass the entire eclectic canon of British Film Noir...

But that's that, and this ODD MAN is worth at least one taut watch. After which, it's a bit too dizzying for repeated viewing. Especially since the third act, for the most part, lacks the main character, shown only now and again, hiding in the snow, and centers on two crazy old men, fighting over the money to rat him out, both more befitting a slapstick comedy... and this two-hour dying-man post-heist drama-thriller is no comedy. 
No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice... No Jitterbugging! Carol Reed's ODD MAN OUT w/ James Mason
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