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Ministry of Fear Reviews

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Michael G

Super Reviewer

April 12, 2007
Ministry of Fear is easily one of Fritz Lang's high points of the 1940s. He does a great job capturing WWII London with a dreadful mood. The chase scene in the beginning as well as the seance scene is worth it alone. The cast is good, but the set design is superb and if my senses aren't failing me I'd say that Ministry of Fear is a precursor to North By Northwest. Overall, the setup is good, the middle dwindles a bit and the last few minutes are kind of weak (with a slightly embarrassing ending) but if you can get your hands on a copy of this movie it's worth the time.
Alec B

Super Reviewer

July 23, 2013
I don't really care that the story is ridiculous, Lang directed the film beautifully (Is there any other director who used contrasting shadow and light so well?) and I like that its a WWII propaganda film, that doesn't really feel like a propaganda film . . . probably because the "heroes" and "villains" are less clearly defined than most stuff from that era.
Alec B

Super Reviewer

July 23, 2013
I don't really care that the story is ridiculous, Lang directed the film beautifully (Is there any other director who used contrasting shadow and light so well?) and I like that its a WWII propaganda film, that doesn't really feel like a propaganda film . . . probably because the "heroes" and "villains" are less clearly defined than most stuff from that era.
July 27, 2012
On the eve of World War II, Ministry of Fear appeared as a great crime picture concentrating on a very hot topic at the time, namely the devious Nazi schemes and plots build up all around Europe. Its decent and somehow dizzying storyline places this movie in the great film noir category right on spot. Its gloomy aura and very climatic atmosphere can be felt throughout the whole time. The main quality of this picture comes from the side of its fantastic cinematography. Every scene is shot perfectly, with the classic low-key white-and-black visual style. Some of the images are simply astounding: a gripping scene on the train with a seemingly blind man, explosive suitcase, bombing near the railroad tracks, etc. But the most stunning one for me was that of a group mind-reading session. Through its play on colors, light and visual sensations it brings a sort of nightmare-ish mood to the movie. Apart from being an agitating thriller Ministry of Fear is also a proper take on the situation in Europe during the War. Nazi scams were omnipresent and every person could have been involved, no matter what nationality he or she was. That's definitely the point that makes it feel more realistic and dramatic at once. Also, one of Ray Milland most believable performances.
K L
July 2, 2012
Ministry of Fear is one of the weakest Fritz Lang noirs and no wonder that it has gotten so little attention. The only highlight of the film is that it directly involves the Nazis, but still the film manages to have the least social relevance, as compared to METROPOLIS and M. The Nazi in the film is merely the name of an enemy, and the film offers no reflection of why it is so.
moviebuff18cab
September 10, 2006
MINISTRY OF FEAR (1944)
MovieBuff84
March 30, 2011
Director Fritz Lang already had a major influence on the film noir genre as he was one of the leaders of the German Expressionist movement in the 1920's. It is interesting to see Lang himself at the helm of a 1940's film noir. The movie is very well done visually and stylistically. Add that along with a well written plot to make a very entertaining film noir.
April 3, 2011
Did Fritz Lang ever make a bad film? While this is definitely lighter Lang, there are so many psycotronic elements in this that make it a blast to watch. He borrows heavily from Hitchcock, using both a wrong man accused plot and not one but two blonds to fill both the femme fatale role and the ingenue. Not to mention a nice MacGuffin of a cake "made with real eggs" to get the action going. Filled with nazi paranoia and the fear of lost sanity, Lang frames most of his shots as if shooting a horror film. He goes that extra mile to mix in a seance for just the right sort of "what the hell am I watching?". Definitely a weird one, especially as far as WWII espionage films go, but worth checking out.
andalusia
May 31, 2004
[i]Ministry of Fear[/i] is an old film noir set in WWII England, telling the story of Stephen Neale, a man who spent two years in an insane assylum for murder ("mercy killing"), and is now out. He is traveling to London, and stops off at a festival. He wins a cake, and that sets in motion the events of the entire movie.

Saying too much more about the events in the film would give it away (it's such a fun watch, and a good mystery to try and unravel... you have no idea why that cake was so important until the very end). There are choppy points in the film, and things that don't quite make sense, but overall, it's very entertaining. Fritz Lang, who has a rather interesting history himself, does a nice job in directing this film and setting the film noir tone early on.

I could pick apart what's wrong with the film, but I won't. I simply enjoyed it too much to worry about the holes. The mystery is so well-done, you almost forget about the film's shortcomings.

[b]A[/b]
John40
March 25, 2004
Hearts of Darkness - An interesting, but overlong documentary on the making of Apocalypse Now. There is some great behind-the-scenes footage of the struggles that the cast a crew faced while making the classic war film.

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Ministry of Fear - A very good noir film from Fritz Lang. Ray Milland is excellent, as always.

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Chinatown - Roman Polanski's classic noir lives up to its expectations.

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City Lights - The best Chaplin film that I have seen.

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The Age of Innocence [2nd] - Martin Scorsese's lush period piece is possibly his best film. Great performances help make this an emotional experience.
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