Odd Man Out (1947)

Odd Man Out (1947)

Director: Carol Reed
Starring: James Mason, Robert Newton, Cyril Cusack

The leader of an IRA cell in Belfast is wounded in a raid gone wrong, on the run from the police with no real allies among the common citizens who don't want to get involved.

Due to censorship at the time (as evidenced by the BBFC certificate at the beginning and the disclaimer distancing the filmmakers from the politics of the subject matter), this is a movie about the IRA that tiptoes around what's actually going on. I don't think the movie suffers from it, though. This is a human drama above all else and it's a rather good one. This isn't a heist movie. The robbery at the beginning is just to set things up. James Mason is of course outstanding as John McQueen, the IRA leader who had escaped from prison and been laying low at a safehouse prior to the raid. That being said, the movie is less about him personally than the people around him and how they treat him. I also particularly liked Robert Newton as the eccentric artist Lukey and Denis O'Dea as the inspector hunting McQueen. Don't expect this movie to deal with Irish nationalism or any of that in any depth. However, if you came across a wounded fugitive, how would you react? That's what this movie plays with and it's rather thought-provoking. It's certainly worth seeing.

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