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At the Movies

Michael Wood: The films of Carol Reed, 19 October 2006

Odd Man Out 
directed by Carol Reed.
September 2006
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... is Odd Man Out (1947), reshown at this year’s Edinburgh Festival as part of a tribute to Carol Reed in the year of his centenary (he died in 1976). The NFT recently screened a new print of The Fallen Idol (1948) and a good selection of Reed’s other films for the same reason. Odd Man Out does make you think ...

Nothing like metonymy when you’re at the movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Third Man & Other Stories’, 8 November 2018

The Third Man & Other Stories 
by Graham Greene.
Macmillan, 342 pp., £9.99, July 2017, 978 1 5098 2805 0
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... in Vienna in February 1948, and wrote the treatment as a free-standing fiction in March and April. Carol Reed directed the Vienna location shooting (three cameramen and three crews) between October and December of that year, and finished filming at Shepperton Studios in March 1949. After some editing and work on the soundtrack the movie opened in London ...

Bernie’s War

Philip Purser, 23 May 1991

A German Requiem 
by Philip Kerr.
Viking, 306 pp., £13.99, March 1991, 0 670 83516 1
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... minds, with The Third Man. No one setting a story there can elude images left by Graham Greene, Carol Reed and the gifted cinematographer Robert Krasker. At one point Kerr goes out of his way to invite comparisons, introducing the very racket which damned Harry Lime, the black market in penicillin. He is not too shy to bring in Vienna’s ...

Something about her eyes

Patricia Beer, 24 June 1993

Daphne du Maurier 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 455 pp., £17.99, March 1993, 0 7011 3699 5
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... this question of standards. In the course of describing how Daphne’s youthful relationship with Carol Reed came to an end, Margaret Forster quotes a poem on the not uncommon theme of separation, ‘when one heart flies / And the other is left in the empty hell of remembering.’ It had been found among du Maurier’s papers after her death. Her ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel, 22 June 1995

Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... The Stars Look Down – the words are possibly those of A.J. Cronin, the novelist, rather than of Carol Reed, the film’s director – signalled a remarkable turn-around in attitudes to the miners, as well as prefiguring what was to be the leading idiom of British wartime cinema. The success of the film itself (fear of censorship had held it back for ...

Keeping out and coming close

Michael Church, 3 October 1985

Here lies: An Autobiography 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 234 pp., £10.95, June 1985, 0 297 78588 5
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The Levanter 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 99521 9
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Doctor Frigo 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 250 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 76848 4
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The Other Side of the Moon: The Life of David Niven 
by Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 300 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780297787082
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Secrets: Boyhood in a Jewish Hotel 1932-1954 
by Ronald Hayman.
Peter Owen, 224 pp., £12, July 1985, 9780720606423
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A Woman in Custody 
by Audrey Peckham.
Fontana, 253 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 00 636952 9
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No Gangster More Bold 
by John Morgan.
Hodder, 179 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 26387 3
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... when he got an order to report to Major Thorold Dickinson (director of Gaslight in civilian life). Carol Reed and Peter Ustinov had been likewise commandeered, and the little group were told to produce a film to boost the British troops’ flagging morale. It was made, then aborted as subversive by the War Office; enough influential people had liked ...

Too Close to the Bone

Allon White, 4 May 1989

... but in his case it was marshland, and particularly the reeds, which played the central part. The reed is one of the symbols of the Passion, for, on the Cross, Christ had been tendered a vinegar-soaked sponge on the end of a reed. The reed also represents the Just, who dwell on the banks ...

Infante’s Inferno

G. Cabrera Infante, 18 November 1982

Legacies: Selected Poems 
by Heberto Padilla, translated by Alastair Reid and Andrew Hurley.
Faber, 179 pp., £8.75, September 1982, 0 374 18472 0
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... meeting Greene had with Castro in Cathedral Square to iron out the difficulties encountered by Carol Reed with the censors. However, Greene has written many articles and given interviews about Cuba, and has published at least one long story on Castro and his revolution. The most important article is the least useful to an understanding by the British ...


David Bromwich: This was Orson Welles, 3 June 2004

Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life 
by Peter Conrad.
Faber, 384 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 571 20978 5
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... but he himself had been the actor who caused such a change in The Third Man. It was shrewd of Carol Reed to pick Welles for the confidence man whose pranks and fixes and easy-come ideas about everything make others care for him and for life. And yet Harry Lime is the man who ‘never grew up: the world grew up around him.’ ...


John Burnside: Death and Photography, 18 December 2014

... that would be the movie,’ he said. The ‘tests’ – whose subjects include John Ashbery, Lou Reed, Dennis Hopper and Susan Sontag – were shot on 100-foot rolls of black and white film at 24 frames per second, then screened, almost slo-mo, at 16 fps. The results varied: Lou Reed, who had studied drama, brings a Coke ...

At the Royal Academy

James Davidson: ‘Bronze’, 11 October 2012

... are a small selection from a hoard of ceremonial objects with animal motifs found wrapped in a reed mat in a cave near the Dead Sea in the 1960s. Other bronze objects fell out of boats – or were they pushed? – at the time when the Romans were busily conquering the Mediterranean, and spent twenty centuries on the seabed in the company of marine ...

Between the Raindrops

David Bromwich: The Subtlety of James Stewart, 12 December 2002

James Stewart at the NFT 
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... other side of his good cheer. Still, this is a Christmas movie, frankly modelled on A Christmas Carol, and there are scenes of exhilaration in Stewart’s early courtship of Donna Reed. Her other suitor, the official one, preferred by her mother, calls her on the phone long-distance, and hearing that Stewart is ...

The Last Witness

Colm Tóibín: The career of James Baldwin, 20 September 2001

... in New York who published his early work, he was ‘politically nearly a blank slate’, as Carol Polsgrove says in Divided Minds: Intellectuals and the Civil Rights Movement.* Baldwin’s passionate involvement in the Civil Rights Movement did not make him feel at home and easy among his own people. The Civil Rights Movement was even more hostile to ...

Outcasts and Desperados

Adam Shatz: Richard Wright’s Double Vision, 7 October 2021

The Man Who Lived Underground 
by Richard Wright.
Library of America, 250 pp., £19.99, April 2021, 978 1 59853 676 8
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... realist? His engagement with the Communist Party – he had been a leader of the Chicago John Reed Club, the CPUSA writers’ group, and published journalism in The New Masses – contributed, but Wright’s relationship with the party had always been stormy, particularly when it came to aesthetics. His 1937 manifesto, ‘Blueprint for Negro ...

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