The film that James Mason said contains his best performance; a tragic depiction of the last eight hours of a wounded IRA gunman. A superb post-war British thriller.
A masterly performance by Mason as an IRA gunman on the run in the 1920s makes this a classic.
Mason plays Johnny McQueen, who is wounded and staggers through the wintry backstreets and bars of Belfast, which become a strange, dreamlike vista and backdrop for Johnny’s Christlike journey towards death.
A work rich in imagery and full of poignancy, Mason himself remarked that it might ‘find a place in a list of 10 best films if ever I were obliged to submit one’.
Despite some incongrous accents and Newton’s OTT extended cameo, this remains one of the true masterpieces of British cinema.
James Mason as Johnny McQueen
Robert Newton as Lukey
Cyril Cusack as Pat
F.J. McCormick as Shell
Kathleen Ryan as Kathleen Sullivan
William Hartnell as Fencie – the barman
Fay Compton as Rosie
W.G. Fay as Father Tom
Denis O’Dea as Inspector
Maureen Delaney as Theresa O’Brien
Elwyn Brook-Jones as Tober
Robert Beatty as Dennis
Dan O’Herlihy as Nolan
Kitty Kirwan as Grannie
Beryl Measor as Maudie
Roy Irving as Murphy
Director: Carol Reed
Script: R.C. Sherriff, F.L. Green
UK | 116 minutes | 1946