The plot has famous writer Adrian Messenger at the fox-hunt of the haughty Marquis of Gleneyre asking as a personal favor that Anthony Gethryn, an MI5 friend, to on the quiet check out the addresses of the eleven names he’s listed without questioning why. On a flight to Canada, Messenger’s plane is sabotaged by a bomb placed by the killer disguised as the Vicar Atlee. Adrian perishes, but not before telling fellow passenger Raoul Le Borg, a survivor, some important dying last words about his list.
It turns out the Frenchman Raoul worked together during the war with Gethryn, a colonel in the British army, but the two intelligence offers never met and only know each other through their code names. They decide to work together tracking down the list, as Scotland Yard chief Sir Wilfrid Lucas orders Inspector Pike to help. They soon discover all eleven died accidentally, and discover further that Adrian was actually meant to be the twelfth man on the list. —Ozu’s World of Movie Reviews
Adventure in many forms is the theme of many of John Huston’s films. His characters are constantly searching for “the stuff that dreams are made of” (the famous closing-line of his debut film The Maltese Falcon). Huston glorified this chase despite its frequent disillusionment and false promise, since it represented a flight from the complacent virtues of ordinary life. Like Ernest Hemingway and Joseph Conrad, Huston regarded civilization as a false surface which thinly veiled a hostile nature. Only those who lived at the edge, on the margins of society were regarded by Huston as fellow travellers. In films as diverse as The Treasure of Sierra Madre, The Asphalt Jungle and Under the Volcano, Huston celebrated men who circled the abyss; characters who are driven to plunge head first into the void.
The son of the great theatre and film actor Walter Huston (who would win an Oscar under his son’s direction for his role in The Treasure of Sierra Madre) and crime journalist Rhea Gore… read more
Good mystery thriller filmed with some distanciation by John Huston. as the post final credits sequence confirms it. Joseph MacDonald, in charge of the photography department, proposes two or three scenes that could have been found in a Val Lewton production. Robert Mitchum is the only star I recognized among the cameos. So if you want to pass an agreeable evening, take a look at this rare little gem. Recommended.