Elegantly balancing suspense and farce, Carol Reed and Graham Greene’s tale of the fraught relationship between a boy and the beloved butler he suspects of murder is a delightfully macabre thriller of the first order and a visually and verbally dazzling knockout.
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Perfect tension sequences, with an innocent kid confused with the facts, where the truth is difficult to find. And masterful are also the ambiguity of the characters, and the way Reed controls the game between what we know and what they know.
"Must they be white?" The purity of youth. A film romantically devoted to a single point of view. A master of mechanics, design, and cinematic space. Although not the best editor, Carol Reed's consciousness is one close to my heart and his films continue to warm my soul. A deeply personal movie for me... "I'm only going because it's not possible to stay."
A fine, compelling film. Escalating gradually, a remarkable tension grows, broken by flashes of humor. This film is worth seeking out for the story craft, the film craft, the performances, and simply to enjoy a well-told story.
It's no wonder that kids get messed up. All the mixed messages. It's so hard to interpret. The kid is not any more annoying that your normal precocious kid. You have to give it to Carol Reed for the marvelous job he did with Bobby Henrey, because he was a horrible actor in real life. It was some very careful editing and huge amounts of patience that got him to look so good. Big props to Ralph, of course.