Carol Reed

Carol Reed

  • Highest Rated: 100% The Fallen Idol (1949)
  • Lowest Rated: 50% A Kid for Two Farthings (1956)
  • Birthday: Dec 30, 1906
  • Birthplace: Putney, London, England, UK
  • Carol Reed was born into a family with some of the best artistic/theatrical credentials of any film director who ever lived. His father was Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1853-1917), the leading actor of his day and, among many other credits, the stage's first Henry Higgins, and his mother was Tree's mistress, May Pinney Reed. Born in London, Carol Reed was educated at Kings School, Canterbury, just slightly ahead of his fellow future filmmaker Michael Powell. Reed's father passed away when he was ten years old, leaving his mother to raise him with help from a small bequest. He was drawn to the theater from an early age and wanted to become an actor, but his mother had little confidence in his ability to earn a living in that field, and encouraged him to try farming. Reed made his stage debut at age 17 as a member of Sybil Thorndike's theater company, and at 20, joined Edgar Wallace's company, where he advised the author on the adaptations of his books into plays and also served as a stage manager as well as an actor. Reed turned to movies in the early '30s, joining Associated British Talking Pictures in 1932 as a dialogue director and assistant to the studio's founder, director/producer Basil Dean. Reed made the jump to the director's chair in 1935, initially in association with Robert Wyler on It Happened in Paris. This period in Reed's career, characterized by low-budget productions, saw him making as many as three feature films a year. These were successful films, and often stood out for what style Reed was able to manifest in them, beginning with the comedy Laburnum Grove (1936). He also directed Talk of the Devil (1936); the film was co-written by Reed and future director Anthony Kimmins (who collaborated on Reed's first five movies). Reed's most distinguished early movie was The Stars Look Down (1939), starring Michael Redgrave, a drama dealing with the plight of impoverished Welsh coal miners. The film that put Reed on the map as a popular stylist was Night Train to Munich (1940). Written by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, the future writer/director/producer team, it was a follow-up to their script for Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (1938). With the outbreak of the Second World War, Reed joined the British army's film unit, where he made a series of documentaries intended as acclimation and propaganda for new recruits, and made the best full-length feature of the war dealing with British infantrymen, The Way Ahead (1944), co-authored by Eric Ambler and Peter Ustinov. It was immediately after the war that Reed ascended to the front rank of British filmmakers with Odd Man Out (1947). This coincided with his becoming his own producer, and for the next four years, everything he touched as a director turned to gold. Odd Man Out was a beautifully complex psychological thriller that overcame its grim subject to become a critical and box-office success. Along with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, David Lean, and Launder and Gilliat, Reed was part of that generation of British filmmakers whose movies transformed the British film industry, for a time, into a serious rival to Hollywood. Reed's next movie, The Fallen Idol (1948), based on the work of author Graham Greene, told the story of a boy trying desperately to hide the guilt of his friend, a butler suspected of killing his wife. It was a deeply atmospheric film, filled with haunting emotional resonances, and was a critical and box-office success. And then came The Third Man (1949), based on Greene's novella and produced jointly in association with Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick. A manhunt set amid the corruption and misery of postwar Vienna, the movie transcended the thriller genre, partly through a quintet of brilliant performances by Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard, and Bernard Lee, as well as Robert Krasker's atmospheric photography, and, overall, a uniquely wry sense of humor, courtesy of Reed, who set the tone for the entire movie not

Highest Rated Movies








No Score Yet The Public Eye Director 1972
No Score Yet Flap Director 1970
82% Oliver! Director 1968
86% The Agony and the Ecstasy Screenwriter Director Producer 1965
No Score Yet The Running Man Producer Director 1963
68% Mutiny on the Bounty Director 1962
94% Our Man in Havana Producer Director 1959
No Score Yet The Key Director 1958
67% Trapeze Director 1956
50% A Kid for Two Farthings Director 1956
No Score Yet The Man Between Director 1953
No Score Yet Outcast of the Islands Director Producer 1952
100% The Fallen Idol Director Producer $58.2K 1949
99% The Third Man Director Producer 1949
100% Odd Man Out Director Producer 1947
100% The Way Ahead (The Immortal Battalion) Director 1945
No Score Yet The True Glory Director 1945
No Score Yet Kipps (The Remarkable Mr. Kipps) Director 1941
88% Night Train to Munich (Gestapo) Director 1940
90% The Stars Look Down Director 1940
No Score Yet The Girl in the News Director 1940
No Score Yet Climbing High Director 1938
83% Bank Holiday Director 1938
No Score Yet Talk of the Devil Director Screenwriter 1936
No Score Yet Midshipman Easy Director 1935


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