Odd Man Out

DVD Rating: **

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Anton Bitel's film review of Odd Man Out
Odd Man Out
"" | Photo: Criterion Collection

This 'special edition' is ultimately frustrating rather than satisfying. The extras, comprising interview footage with James Mason and a documentary narrated by the same (both, curiously, from 1972), make diverting enough viewing for those interested in Mason marginalia, but they are hardly essential, and their relationship to Odd Man Out is either tangential or non-existent.

The 13 minutes of interview material is introduced apologetically as "unedited rushes", and is exactly that. There are short snatches of Mason discussing all manner of disparate topics - his views on producer J. Arthur Rank, on the small number of decent British directors in the post-war period, on the superiority of Britain's male actors over their female counterparts, or on his time in California and his admiration for Preston Sturges. There is even an oblique reference to Odd Man Out itself (F.J. McCormick, a relatively unknown Irish actor who shone as the dissolute Shell, died before he could find the fame he apparently deserved). It is, however, disappointingly choppy, with all Mason's statements reduced to a disconnected series of empty soundbites.

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Home James (51min) is much more substantial, but as a sentimental documentary on the northern industrial town of Huddersfield, it has no connection, either explicit or implicit, with Odd Man Out, except insofar as it is narrated by the film's star, who was himself born there. If you want to learn about the culture and history of a town that "has a personality that's quite unique, and very seductive", then you could do worse than this; ditto if you want a reminder of the very special grimness of seventies England, or if you want to see an aging actor grow nostalgic for the old fashioned values that he apparently had rejected in his childhood. But if you are looking for extras that offer insights into Odd Man Out (and I for one was interested to know how its sympathetic portrayal of an IRA chief was received by audiences and critics of the time), you will not find them here.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006
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Odd Man Out packshot
An injured IRA man goes on the run in the forbidding back streets of Belfast.
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Product Code: 7952509

Region: 2

Ratio: 4:3 full screen

Sound: Dolby Digital mono

Extras: James Mason interview, 'Home James' documentary, image gallery

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