Sunday, July 12, 2009
Pre-Game Warm-Up: The Fallen Idol
I don't know which Invisible Hands of Fate have been guiding my movie choices as of late but, considering the themes of the impending series, they have been incredibly apt. Last night I managed to finally watch Carol Reed's superlative The Fallen Idol from 1948. The film deals directly with lies, in particular the differences between one lie and another. Whenever a lie is told it is generally thought to be in the interest of the teller but how do we really know which lies are beneficial rather than a hindrance? This question is played out as a young boy, Phillipe, who hasn't yet learned how to differentiate between individual falsehoods, manages to unintentionally implicate his hero, a butler named Baines (played beautifully by Ralph Richardson), in a murder investigation.
Like the immortal Third Man released a year later, this too is a collaboration between Reed and the novelist Graham Greene and deals with many of the themes found within the writer's other work. It is a film that is much less ballyhooed than its successor but is ultimately just as stunning.
Post-script: If you're feeling particularly adventurous, this would be a great double feature with the only Best Picture winner in Alfred Hitchcock's supreme body of work, 1940's Rebecca. Both feature frightening villains in the role of the home's head housekeeper.