Journey into Fear (1943) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
Journey into Fear (1943).rtf
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Journey into Fear (1943)
A US Navy engineer, returning to the US with his wife from a conference, finds himself pursued by Nazi agents, who are out to kill him. Without a word to his wife, he flees the hotel the couple is staying in and boards a ship, only to find, after the ship sails, that the agents have followed him there.
Joseph Cotten ... Howard Graham
Dolores del Rio ... Josette Martel
Ruth Warrick ... Mrs. Stephanie Graham
Agnes Moorehead ... Mrs. Mathews
Jack Durant ... Gogo Martel
Everett Sloane ... Kopeikin
Eustace Wyatt ... Prof Haller - German archeologist
Frank Readick ... Matthews - Cockney socialist
Edgar Barrier ... Kuvetli - tobacco salesman
Jack Moss ... Peter Banat - obese gunman
Stefan Schnabel ... Translator for ships captain
Hans Conried ... Swami magician
Robert Meltzer ... Ship baggageman / Head waiter
Richard Bennett ... Ship's Captain
Orson Welles ... Colonel Haki
Director: Norman Foster / Orson Welles (uncredited)
Joseph Cotten plays an American armaments engineer on the run from the Nazis in "Journey into Fear," a 1943 film with a script by Cotten (from a story by Eric Ambler) and costarring Orson Welles and Delores del Rio. Cotten is working on a deal to supply Turkey with weapons to fight the Axis. The Nazis don't want the deal made and are trying to stop Cotten from getting back to the U.S.
There are some very exciting scenes in this extremely atmospheric film, in particular on the ledge of a building between Cotten and the terrifying assassin. Most of the film takes place on board a dingy ship where Cotten is taken, thus beginning his Kafka-esquire nightmare.
This is an entertaining film for sure, but I've always been troubled by it. First of all, it seems like there are scenes missing. Second, it's on the confusing side since there are irrelevant characters thrown in. Third, you can drive a truck through some of the plot holes. Fourth, the ending to me has always felt abrupt.
Suspenseful? Yes. Intriguing? Yes. Ultimately disappointing? Yes. Cotten is good as a man blundering through something he can't quite figure out - the problem is, the audience can't quite figure it out either. Welles has a small but effective role as Dr. Haki.
The operatic approach of adding a musical dimension to menace with a killer-theme on the soundtrack has been greatly used in Orson Welles' glorious suspense film, "Journey Into Fear," where the little killer obsessively played a scratchy old 78 rpm disc of someone singing "Chagrin d'Amour."
The assassin was short and fat; his belly large, his chin and neck flabby... I do not recall him having a line of dialog to speak… But the whole film was spread with heightened menace when he sat, his little round eyes blank behind his little round pebble lenses, listening compulsively to the atrociously scratchy record, confusing the words of the song at the wrong speed, the needle jumping from groove to groove; his nerve-ends, unlike ours, immune to the discordance…
This was a spy thriller set in the wartime Near East, about an innocent American engineer (Joseph Cotten), pursued by Nazi agents and blundering from danger to danger without seeming to know too much of what it was all about…It was essentially a hunter-and-hunted story, with settings that were often seedy but always exotic…
The opening was in Istanbul, the climax in Batum, and all the terrors between were forced claustrophobically between the low ceilings and narrow partitions of a neglected little steamer plowing the Black Sea…
"Journey Into Fear" lives for its portrait gallery, its atmosphere, and for Welles' touches and excesses…
Somewhere along the way, someone took scissors to this film and left it with plot holes that don't connect. Despite the obvious flaws in continuity and plotting, Eric Ambler's novel has been so changed in transferring it to the screen that he didn't even recognize it as his own story, according to Robert Osborne of TCM.
The marquee value of Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles is likely to lure viewers into thinking they will see another classic along the lines of THE THIRD MAN. Not so. This is a visually interesting espionage yarn, very little of which is coherent and much of which leaves the viewer in as much confusion as Joseph Cotten's character is. Whom should he trust and who is really trying to kill him?
Cotten plays a U.S. Naval engineer aboard a dilapidated freighter who learns that Nazi agents are planning to kill him. The usual Welles Mercury Theater players fill the supporting roles, along with the beautiful Dolores Del Rio. Once the film leaves the claustrophobic freighter and shows Cotten running from his captors, it takes on heightened interest. The scenes in the torrential rain are wonderfully staged and the B&W cinematography gives the illusion of menace in every shadow.
But there is virtually no coherent plot and Welles is completely wasted in a small role that he underplays. While the credits say that Norman Foster directed, it is highly probable that Welles himself directed much of it. Perhaps it all made more sense before the running time was cut down to 71 minutes.
Ruth Warrick has a couple of nice moments as Cotten's patient wife but none of the characters are fleshed out enough to really understand or care about. Cotten gives his usual workmanlike performance but it all ends with a rather abrupt finish, much ado about nothing.
Howard Graham is an American engineer returning from Istanbul with his wife Stephanie. A close call in a Turkish nightclub sees a man assassinated by mistake when really Howard was the target and he and his wife are quickly taken to the Turkish secret police. Colonel Haki informs him that he is a target of the Nazis and immediately gets him transit out of the country on the next available boat while he protects his wife. However Howard quickly finds that he is far from being out of danger as his pursuers are on the boat as well.
With keys part of the Third Man cast involved in this thriller, I decided to take a look and had hoped for a film that perhaps would be as enjoyable as that. However it was not quite all that I hoped it would have been as I didn't find myself that gripped by it. The early scenes suggest a real mystery with a good pace but quickly the mistaken assassination of the magician is slowed down and complicated by unnecessary characters and dialogue, some of which seemed to serve very little purpose other than setting up some other scenes later on. With Mrs Howard away somewhere out of vision and therefore out of mind, we focus on the action on other boat and, although quite tense at points, it didn't have the sort of sustained tension that should have been made easier by the confined location of the boat. It does enough to engage though and I did find it quite enjoyable but those claiming this as a classic up there with some of Welles' other films are mistaken because this is only quite good – not any more than that.
The cast was the reason I was here but they were not as good as they have been in other films. Cotton is a bit brash and loud and aspects of his character aren't brought out that well; he was still an interesting leading man but mainly because I have always liked him. Welles has a small role and seems to enjoy himself playing a role that has little screen time but is mentioned throughout the film; I'm not sure if he did direct his own scenes but that is the rumour. Del Rio is sexy and a nice presence but I wasn't overly taken by her other than that. Moss tends to steal the film with his big character lurking around early on, meanwhile the rest of the support are OK, with other languages being spoken rather than the usual American actors putting on vague accents as was often the case (and still is!). Assuming that he did direct the majority, if not all, of the film (and I do believe this) Foster does a very good job of working with shadows in early scenes and in the boat – some of his angles are effective, although it is easy to see (with some of his shots) why people generally believe that it was Welles calling the shots.
Overall this is an enjoyable thriller with a dark atmosphere brought out by good direction throughout. The cast are OK but none of the famous faces really stood out for me here, meanwhile the plot was not as tight as it needed to be, leaving some holes and using some distracting plot devices along the way. Still worth seeing but not the classic that it is often touted around as being.
# In late August 1942, RKO decided to delay the release of the movie because critics panned it in press previews. By that time, Orson Welles' contract was terminated by a new studio head. As part of the settlement, Welles agreed to recut the last reel and film additional scenes. He added the voice-over by Joseph Cotten at the beginning and end of the movie, and designed the pre-credit sequence.
# It is widely believed that Orson Welles directed this film, or at least large portions of it. However, in "This Is Orson Welles", he states he only acted in it and the directing credit should go to Norman Foster.