Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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This movie was much better than I thought it would be. I would love to see the same movie done again with color film and Ahmad and sensibility. There are so many ideas left on the table here that could've been explored including the byzantine workings of the Istanbul government, Dimitrios's spy work, and the smuggling operations and many other elements that can make a great film again today. But this holds up pretty well. Glad I watched it.
Another oddity from director Jean Negulesco, starring Peter Lorre as a mild-mannered writer investigating the bloody life and violent death of a notorious international criminal; Sydney Greenstreet co-stars as the dead scoundrel's former confederate, a man seeking answers of his own. Lorre, already firmly established as one of Hollywood's leading villains, plays against type quite effectively as the bumbling, bug-eyed protagonist; the bearish Greenstreet is, as usual, large, lumbering, and menacing. The movie's paint-by-numbers format, however--here we see the very first time the deceased (Zachary Scott) ever killed a man, here we witness his first encounter with the sultry sexpot (Faye Emerson) who soon learns to fear and despise him--comes across as too lazy, too pat; the episodic, flashback nature of the film does it no favors. The direction is bland, the cinematography flourish-free. The result: a flick that lacks a signature look, a distinctive personality. (And that head-scratcher of an ending doesn't help, either.) If you're a Lorre and Greenstreet fan, and you think you might enjoy watching this oddest of cinematic odd couples banter and bicker, this "buddy movie" might be for you. Otherwise--skip it.
Very good entertainment. Recently watched it on TCM. Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet are their elements.
I watched the movie after reading the book. The movie was astonishingly faithful to the book -- apart from making the central character Dutch instead of English, apparently to accommodate Lorre's accent -- but for some reason the book simply didn't translate to the screen. Perhaps it's because Lorre was miscast? The interplay between Lorre and Greenstreet is the primary strength of the movie. But Lorre didn't come off as the naive mystery writer plunged by obsession into a seamy underworld; he seemed as though it was his natural milieu. Maybe that's the difficulty of typecasting.
A spy film that set new precedents for the genre. Some of its poor motivations weakened the plot.
Although it is great to see Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet teamed up again (after their superb pairings in Casablanca and especially The Maltese Falcon), they may not be strong enough to carry a film on their own. Or perhaps, despite its cult status, this film isn't strong for other reasons. Lorre plays a mystery writer who becomes obsessed with Dimitrios, a rascal and murderer whose dead body he sees at the morgue, and his international investigations frame flashback scenes about the crimes of Dimitrios. Greenstreet (also in the present) is interested in Dimitrios for his own reasons - and needs information Lorre has to reach his objective. Duller than it should be.
a good film noir movie
Best thing about The Mask of Dimitrios in the city modelwork for the scene transitions, an early precurser of (and inspiration for) the famous Game of Thrones opening credits sequence. The cast of this film isn't bad, but Loree and Greenstreet have been in far better products (both together and seperately). This movie is Third Man-lite. It has a lot in common with Carol Reed's classic - it's also a noirish, wartime European-set, author-protagonist-back-tracking-the footsteps of a suave, heartless conman. Dimitrios it pretty cool and interesting at times (I like the con job) but it lacks the sterling dialogue, rich atmosphere and phenomenal location work of The Third Man (it's mostly set bound) and is too talky overall.
There was a time before cell phones, the internet, or even network television. Information was found only through books, newspapers, radio, or face to face encounters. The latter often involved traveling to ask specific questions; the answers to which form the basis for another round of questions. Each answer may take the form of a knife-blade or a bullet, an excellent reason to cast Lorre and Greenstreet as the - well..., neither can really be considered heroes, right? In fact, not a single character of this noir flick could be considered a luminary role model. This is the epitome of its genre.
Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet team up yet again for a movie that's not quite "The Third Man" but it does demand comparison.