Directed by Fritz Lang
Starring Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds, Carl Esmond, Hillary Brooke, Percy Waram, Dan Duryea, Alan Napier
There’s something subversive about Fritz Lang’s movies. Maybe subversive isn’t quite the word. As brilliant as they are, and as polished as they might seem, there’s a B Movie vibe running through a lot of them. Stuff like Western Union (1941), Rancho Notorious (1952) and The Big Heat (1953) are like Republic or Monogram pictures with a much bigger budget, while The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse (1933) feels like an art-house Republic serial. (Goebbels had Mabuse banned in Nazi Germany, so it’s got that going for it. Of course, we can thank the Nazis for sending Lang our way in the first place.)
Ministry Of Fear (1944) finds Lang in fine form, turning Graham Greene’s novel into a noir-ish study in paranoia. Ray Milland leaves the nuthouse and is plunged right in the middle of a web of Nazi intrigue. This is the kind of stuff Lang was so good at, offering up one cool sequence after another. I love his American films!
Along with Milland, this one’s got a few of my favorites in it: Dan Duryea (king of the bad guys), Hillary Brooke (who was great on The Abbott & Costello Show) and Alan Napier (Alfred on the Batman TV show).
Anyway, Ministry Of Fear is making its way to Blu-Ray from Powerhouse in the UK in August. Henry Sharp’s cinematography deserves the boost in definition.