The Man Between

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of The Man Between
The Man Between

Given the age of the film (1953) it is good to see that someone has made an effort to provide bonus extras that are not gathered in haste from the waste.

Claire Bloom's interview is recent. You can tell by her looks and her memory. The former appears admirably untucked and the latter loosely assembled.

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She was 21 when they made The Man Between and feels now that they took advantage, forcing her to complete day and night shoots without a break. She admired Carol Reed but thought he did not like her. James Mason, on the other hand, was thoughtful, kind, generous and all those things young actors crave when cast in lead roles although she admits that the part of Susanne "didn't carry much weight with me." She admired Hildegarde Neff enormously, not only for her beauty but for her courage. She came from East Berlin "and was afraid to go near the Underground for fear of being snatched."

Carol Reed: The Gentle Eye is an affectionate and well researched tribute to the great man, Friends, associates and archivists are interviewed. Apparently he was excellent with children and adored animals. He would buy crates of live lobsters from the fish market and release them. He believed that "everyone in the picture was as important as the star," although came to grief with Marlon Brando (Mutiny On The Bounty) who would not listen to his direction and insisted on playing it his way. Marlon said afterwards that he admired Carol hugely; it was the producer who made life impossible. Fake news?

He was so worried about the public's reaction to Fallen Idol that he decided to make a comedy next. It didn't happen. He met Graham Greene who said he had had an idea for a screenplay and the idea was that a man walking down the Strand passed another man walking the other way who's funeral he had recently attended. When Alexander Korda, Reed's regular producer, was told of this, he replied, "Why the Strand? So boring. Why not Vienna?" And so they went to Austria and made The Third Man ("Vienna was a bombsite in those days") with Orson Welles, despite David O Selznick warning them that Welles was toxic at the box office.

Reed was a storyteller who hated musicals and yet made Oliver that won Best Picture at the Oscars. Irony and humanity stalk his memory.

The BFI interview with James Mason in 1967 is recorded here in audio. He is self deprecating to a fault. "I know nothing about acting," he confesses. "I could never do a double take." He calls it childish, "playing games", which he enjoyed with Reed and Stanley Kubrick ("non stop perfectionism") especially.

His favourite co-star? Who else but Judy (A Star Is Born).

Reviewed on: 20 Feb 2017
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The Man Between packshot
Intrigue and kidnaps amongst the ruins of Berlin immediately after the war
Amazon link

Region: 0

Ratio: 1.33:1

Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0

Extras: Interview with Claire Bloom; Carol Reed remembered; BFI audio interview with James Mason

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