THE FALLEN IDOL
1948, Rialto Pictures, 95 min, UK, Dir: Carol Reed

Carol Reed, one of England’s most celebrated directors, probes the complexity and callousness of human relationships in this Oscar-nominated adaptation of a story by Graham Greene. Told through the naive eyes of an upper-class boy, the film centers on his idealization of his father’s butler, Baines, who entertains him with extravagant (and fictional) accounts of heroic adventures. Contrasting this is the reality of Baines’s unhappy, loveless marriage and his dreams of escaping his lot in life. Top-shelf performances from Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, and young Bobby Henrey fuel this suspenseful, exceptionally written story of loyalty, betrayal, and everything in between.


THE LOST WEEKEND
1945, Universal, 101 min, USA, Dir: Billy Wilder

Director Billy Wilder’s experiences working with Raymond Chandler on DOUBLE INDEMNITY reportedly drew him to this hard-hitting portrait of an alcoholic on a downward spiral. Ray Milland stars as New York writer Don Birnam, whose battle with the bottle takes him from bars to pawnshops to a psychiatric ward as he hits rock bottom. Co-starring Jane Wyman and Howard Da Silva, the film won Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Actor and Adapted Screenplay (by Wilder and producer Charles Brackett).


THE BREAKING POINT
1950, Warner Bros., 97 min, USA, Dir: Michael Curtiz

The finest film version of Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not (and yes, that includes the Bogart-Hawks classic) shifts the story from Cuba to Newport Beach, California, but retains the novel’s core of noir-stained tragedy. As Skipper Harry Morgan, John Garfield essays his finest screen portrayal of a man whose domestic travails and mid-life crisis results in crime, flight and death. Garfield’s turn is perfectly matched by Patricia Neal, as a predatory femme fatale, and Phyllis Thaxter as his beaten-down but unswervingly loyal spouse. With Wallace Ford as a bottom-feeding attorney and the great Afro-Cuban actor Juano Hernandez.


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