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Odd Man Out

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Mason, Robert Newton, Cyril Cusack, F.J. McCormick, William Hartnell
  • Directors: Carol Reed
  • Writers: F.L. Green, R.C. Sherriff
  • Producers: Carol Reed, Herbert Smith, Phil C. Samuel
  • Format: Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 12, 1999
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305186693
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,361 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Odd Man Out" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hailed for its sensitive treatment of a difficult subject, "Odd Man Out" is a tale of ordinary people trapped in the web of Northern Ireland's troubles. Irish rebel Johnny McQueen (James Mason), maimed and bleeding, weaves an escape route through Belfast's seedy underground while each of his comrades falls prey to bounty hunters and police in director Carol Reed's (The Third Man) classic film noir.


Film noir is a term usually associated with American films of the 1940s and 1950s, but this British classic from 1947 fits the definition in almost every respect. It's one of the milestone films of its era, highlighted by what is arguably the best performance in the illustrious career of James Mason, here playing the leader of an underground Irish rebel organization who is seriously wounded when a payroll heist goes sour. Left for dead by his accomplices on the streets of Belfast, he's forced to hide wherever he can find shelter and refuge, and as his gunshot wound gradually drains his life away, his lover (Kathleen Ryan) struggles to locate him before it's too late. Although the IRA and Belfast are never mentioned by name, this film was a daring and morally complex examination of Northern Ireland's "troubles," and its compelling tragedy hasn't lost any of its impact. A study of conscience in crisis and the bitter aftermath of terrorism, this was one of the first films to address IRA activities on intimately human terms. Political potency is there for those who seek it, but the film is equally invigorating as a riveting story of a tragic figure on the run from the law, forced to confront the wrath of his own beliefs in the last hours of his life. It was this brilliant, unforgettable film that established the directorial prowess of Carol Reed, whose next two films (The Fallen Idol and The Third Man) were equally extraordinary. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 37 customer reviews
Taken simply as a thriller, the film can seem a tad overlong.
The film focuses on the love of a young woman for him and her attempt to rescue him.
William Linsley
He is so dazed he can only know that he is with her now and is safe.
C. O. DeRiemer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Thomas R. Dean on April 9, 1999
Format: DVD
This is the greatest film I've ever seen. No one I know (of the dozens I've urged to see it) has ever disliked it, and it has become for others, their favorite movie too. It is really a story of all people: in their struggles on earth, their increasingly less purposeful attempts to survive, their deaths, the things they love, their religious faith transcending their deaths. It is also the story of the varied reactions of people toward one such person, a wounded, dying I.R.A. gunman on the run on the streets of Belfast or Londonderry in the late 1940s. The cinematography, the breadth of social classes (and ages) shown, the symbols, the suspense, the tenderness and callousness, are fascinating. The religious insights of the gunman, and of the grandmother of the girl who has a crush on him (and goes out into the Irish alleys to search for him) and of the police chief searching for him, are extraordinarily deep for a movie that is also edge-of-seat suspense. I've read that this is James Mason's favorite among the movies he did. The director Carol Reed's better known movie, "The Third Man" with Orson Welles, was not quite as broad or as deep as this. I note that every single person reviewing this movie has given it the highest rating this system allows; (how many other movies are AVERAGING 5 stars?) I would submit that it is the greatest movie ever made.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By William Hare on March 16, 2002
Format: DVD
Belfast is a city of two faces. One city consists of bustling streets and energetic people with ready smiles. The other was that presented in this gripping film, that which the world media has focused on with increasing attention with the passage of time, the city of conflict where tensions accelerate to the boiling point and explode into violence.
"Odd Man Out" is a 1947 release which represents Carol Reed's first of three successively acclaimed international masterpieces. It was followed by "The Fallen Idol" with Ralph Richardson and Michelle Morgan and "The Third Man" with Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli and the moving appearance in the last thirty minutes by Orson Welles. James Mason was also greatly assisted career-wise in his sensitive role as a young Nationalist underground leader living the last day of his life in a state of excruciating pain. Mason had earlier come to prominence in the 1945 release "The Seventh Veil" with Ann Todd. This role completed his momentum swing into the top ranks of international cinema stardom.
"Odd Man Out" and "The Third Man" have been selected as representative of British film noir at its finest. Reed uses shadows to compelling effect, while Robert Krasker, who would win an Oscar for Cinematography in "The Third Man," handled the camera with equally consummate skill in "Odd Man Out." The Reed-Krasker team present compelling silhouettes of characters who cross the path of Mason, whose face reveals the requisite painful sensitivity as underground gang leader Johnny McQueen.
The film begins with the clock in the main square striking noon and ends at the ring of midnight.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Walter on October 6, 2003
Format: DVD
ODD MAN OUT portrays life in an unnamed city in Northern Ireland via the unlikely narrative structure of the episodic fantasy--that is, in the tradition of ALICE IN WONDERLAND and THE WIZARD OF OZ; it is quite possible, in fact, that it influenced the Jim Jarmusch film DEAD MAN. James Mason plays Johnny McQueen, an Irish freedom fighter who is seriously wounded early in the film. As he wanders about the city in delirium, Johnny becomes a sort of talisman sought after by several eccentric characters for their own purposes, and he is reduced (or is it, elevated?) to the status of fatalistic symbol. The film presents us with an unlikely, outrageous, and irresistible portrait of an Ulster community, filmed by Carol Reed with delicious visual style. Every frame bursts with some brilliant image--the contrast of light and shadow, stunning camera angles, ingenious special effects, and snow in the night. In my opinion, the film rates slightly above Reeds THE THIRD MAN and slightly below his underappreciated THE FALLEN IDOL.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 14, 2005
Format: DVD
This is a powerful, tragic movie which is hard to forget. It tells the story of Johnny McQueen (James Mason), an IRA chief in Northern Ireland. He was sentenced to 17 years for robbery but broke out and now has planned to rob a mill to steal money for the cause. He leads three other men and things go wrong. He shoots and kills a clerk and is shot himself. During the chaotic escape he falls from the getaway car and is left on the street. He's seriously injured and probably is bleeding to death. All that evening and night, increasingly dazed and weak, he struggles to find someplace to go and rest.

Odd Man Out is really two stories. One is McQueen's. The other is that of Kathleen Sullivan (Kathleen Ryan), the young woman who loves him and is determined to find and save him. She knows he's terribly hurt and that he'll be hanged if he is caught. She won't let that happen. Despite her Catholic faith and the sympathetic counsel of her elderly priest, she'll shoot Johnny and then herself if she must.

Those Johnny McQueen encounters during the cold and sleeting night may want to help him or may want the reward for his capture, but none want to give him shelter. A prosperous, fat madam welcomes Johnny's team and learns where they left Johnny. Then she turns them in and listens as they're shot down in front of her establishment. Two sisters find Johnny lying in the road and take him into their house. They bandage him but cannot keep him, and send him out again into the rain. A crazed painter (Robert Newton), finds him in a bar and takes him to his studio, where he wants to paint the dying face. All the while the police are slowly narrowing their search. At last Kathleen finds him. He is so dazed he can only know that he is with her now and is safe.
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