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Preview Image for Odd Man Out (UK)
Odd Man Out (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000086468
Added by: David Beckett
Added on: 5/9/2006 00:28
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    Review of Odd Man Out

    7 / 10


    Written for the screen by R. C. Sheriff and F. L. Green (who also wrote the novel), `Odd Man Out`, as the introduction informs you, takes place in a town in Northern Ireland and involves `an illegal organisation`. Despite this `disclaimer`, there`s no doubt that the events unfold in Belfast and concern the IRA of which Johnny (James Mason) is the local leader. Johnny escaped from prison and has been hiding in a safe house for six weeks along with Kathleen, with whom he shares an unspoken love. Whilst in hiding, Johnny has planned a holdup of a local mill and against everyone`s advice he goes along on the heist, despite being in no mental condition for action. The concerns of his friends prove well founded and, following an almost perfect robbery, Johnny is shot in the shoulder during an altercation outside the mill and is left alone searching for a friendly face, in particular Kathleen.


    The video is the original 4:3 full screen and the transfer is very good: there is some slight distortion on the introduction and sweep into town, but aside from an infrequent shimmer, this is a beautiful transfer which really shows off Robert Krasker`s sublime cinematography.

    There are no subtitles available.


    The English mono is perfectly adequate for the film and is very clear: in one scene you can hear the car engine, the dialogue and police sirens in the background all without hiss, distortion or loss of definition.


    The 1972 interview with James Mason is unedited and includes the on-screen countdown timer, hands in front of the camera and the clapperboard which appears to indicate that the interview was for a programme called `All Our Yesterdays`. Perhaps due to the unedited nature of the interview, the transfer is grainy and the sound is occasionally far from crystal clear. Despite this, the interview does garner some interesting information from Mason about his career and personal life.

    The Yorkshire Television production `Home James` from 1972 lasts 51 minutes and is a personal documentary presented by James Mason about his hometown of Huddersfield. It is in essence a nostalgia piece and features the male voice choir, the orchestra and some incredible examples of early 1970`s fashion. Although an interesting historical document of Huddersfield, the fact he lived in Hollywood and didn`t show you round where he was born and lived as a young boy results in the show being less about James Mason and more about Huddersfield in 1972.

    The image gallery runs at over 11 minutes and does not require you to scroll through the pictures manually using your remote control. The gallery contains stills from the film, photos of the shoot and some publicity material from around the world.


    Regardless of the film`s politics, `Odd Man Out` is a brilliant character study of an injured man alone in a strange town, attempting to find his way back to familiar faces and territory but finding people who are only interested in the legend that is Johnny McQueen. These characters vary from Father Tom (W.G. Fay) who wants to save Johnny`s soul, his friends in `the organisation` who will go to any lengths to rescue him, a landlord and his bar staff who want Johnny out of their premises before they find themselves in trouble, a destitute old man who figures he can make some money selling Johnny back to his friends and even an artist who wants to paint Johnny as he is dying. Whilst all this is happening, Kathleen (Kathleen Ryan) is desperate to find the man she loves and save him from execution by leaving town with him on a boat.

    The film features the finest performance of James Mason`s distinguished career. He dominates every scene he is in and even those he is not as the almost omnipresent Johnny. The supporting cast are all very good, particularly W.G. Fay, but Mason is simply superb.

    `Odd Man Out` is undoubtedly Carol Reed`s directorial breakthrough, helped in no small part by Robert Krasker, whose superb cinematography sets the tone for this bleak film that would enable Reed to go on and make the brilliant `The Third Man`.

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