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The Fallen Idol

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United Kingdom · 1948
1h 36m
Director Carol Reed
Starring Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, Sonia Dresdel, Bobby Henrey
Genre Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Young Phillipe is the son of a London ambassador who idolizes Baines, his father’s butler. But when Baines’ wife “accidentally” falls to her death, the impressionable Phillipe is the only witness. The police believe Baines is responsible, and Phillipe, who will do anything to protect his hero, becomes caught in a web of lies….

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What are critics saying?


Washington Post by Ann Hornaday

This is an example of a writer and director working in perfect harness, with Reed smoothly ratcheting up the story's suspense and Greene speculating on his cardinal theme of moral ambiguity. They don't make movies like The Fallen Idol anymore, all the more reason to see it now while you can.


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

The Fallen Idol has been overshadowed by the noir comedy, giddy style, and Cold War thematics of Reed and Greene's subsequent sensation "The Third Man," but (in similarly dealing with the nature of betrayal) The Fallen Idol is actually a superior psychological drama.


L.A. Weekly by John Patterson

One of the great movies about childhood innocence accidentally violated by adults...Reed, an often inconsistent filmmaker, handles the brutal mechanics of the plot superbly, with the marbled interiors of the embassy contrasting sharply with his almost neo-realist outdoor shots of postwar London.


The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

Beautifully shot by the French cinematographer Georges Périnal (whose credits include Cocteau's "Blood of a Poet"), the film soon evolves from a claustrophobic domestic affair into a mordantly discomfiting look at the betrayal of innocence.


Portland Oregonian by Marc Mohan

The result is a gripping film which, despite the annoying rugrat, demonstrates how part of leaving childhood behind is learning how and when to lie, and to do it well.


Boston Globe by Ty Burr

Formally, the movie's a lasting pleasure: Reed's incisive direction; Greene's easy yet weighted dialogue; the farseeing deep-focus photography of Georges Perinal; Vincent Korda's luxuriant sets.

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