Ministry of Fear (1944)

“Forget the past — just tell me the future.”

Ministry of Fear Poster

Synopsis:
A man (Ray Milland) released from serving a two-year sentence in an asylum heads to blitz-filled London, where he finds himself caught up in a nightmarish situation involving a fortune teller (Aminta Dyne), a highly desirable cake, a “murdered” man (Dan Duryea) who returns to life, a beautiful Austrian woman (Marjorie Reynolds) and her patriotic brother (Carl Esmond), and Nazi spies.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this Fritz Lang-directed “espionage tale” — based on a novel by Graham Greene — is disappointing on numerous levels: “It’s confusing, Reynolds is a weak heroine (and Milland isn’t so exciting either), Milland convinces [a Scotland Yard inspector] of his innocence too early in the film, and Lang doesn’t fully exploit Milland’s paranoia so that this former mental patient begins to mistrust his perceptions about what’s happening around him”. While the film is “enjoyable due to some slimy Nazis and interesting minor characters and some offbeat moments”, it’s ultimately pretty forgettable.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Henry Sharp’s cinematography
    Ministry of Fear Cinematography
    Ministry of Fear Cinematography2
    Ministry of Fear Cinematography3
  • Several tense moments
    Ministry of Fear Tense

Must See?
No, though Lang fans will probably be curious to check it out.

Links:

One Response to “Ministry of Fear (1944)”

  1. First viewing – not must-see.

    While I wouldn’t call it “confusing”, I wouldn’t call it “enjoyable” either. It’s atmospheric, technically competent (often visually interesting due to some nice composition) – and it’s appropriately twisty with duplicity.

    Still…there’s something lethargic about it and strangely uninvolving.

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