Wednesday, May 15, 2019

CONSENSUS #73 - Ministry of Fear (1944)

SYNOPSIS: The movie is set in Britain during the Blitz.  A Brit (Ray Milland) straight out of an insane asylum (for the murder of his wife) gets caught up in intrigue in WWII England when he accidentally acquires an item of value to spies.  Going from pursued to pursuer, he tracks down a Nazi spy ring and finds love in the process.

BACK-STORY: Ministry of Fear is a classic film noir by the acclaimed Fritz Lang. It was based on the novel of Graham Greene which is noirier than the screenplay. The movie was released in 1944 and is black and white. It is partly Langs reaction to Nazis dominance of Europe. Lang, a German, had been offered a job in the Ministry of Propaganda by Josef Goebbels and immediately fled from Germany.

TRIVIA:  imdb

1.  Lang was disappointed with film because he felt the script differed too much from Greene’s book (see #3), but he was not allowed to tamper with it.  This was because the screenwriter was also the producer.
2.  The McGuffin is a cake.
3.  The main character in the book is much more tormented with guilt over his wife’s death and it is more clearly murder.  The romance is also less idyllic.  She is a spy and he is a murderer.

Belle and Blade  =  N/A
Brassey’s              =  4.0
Video Hound       =  N/A
War Movies         =  N/A
Military History   =  #53
Channel 4             =  not on list
Film Site                =  yes
101 War Movies  =  no

OPINION: Sadly, Ministry of Fear is nothing special. It is not a great war movie and it is not even great film noir. The acting is satisfactory, but not up to the great film noir classics.  The plot has holes and bizarre aspects, but you expect that from film noir.   It does not belong on this list.

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