Ministry of Fear (1944)

Ministry of Fear (1944)

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

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, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Dan Duryea Films
  • Falsely Accused
  • Fritz Lang Films
  • Nazis
  • Ray Milland Films
  • Spies
  • World War II

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

  • Several tense moments

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


One thought on “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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