Revisiting Carol Reed’s 1947 masterpiece Odd Man Out

David Lehman at The American Scholar:

The secondary characters are extraordinary. As Penn State media professor Kevin Hagopian puts it in his film notes for the New York State Writers Institute, Odd Man Out is “festooned with gargoyles.” The crazed painter Lukey (Robert Newton) sees in Johnny’s suffering face the perfect model for a masterpiece of portraiture. With the bearing of a genteel bordello mistress, treacherous Theresa O’Brien (Maureen Delany) lets two of the bandits drink her whiskey in one room, while in another she informs the police of their whereabouts. Dim-witted Shell (F. J. McCormick), who collects birds and speaks in avian metaphors, discovers Johnny in a rubbish heap and relishes the reward he will get for turning in this bird with the wounded left wing. But Father Tom (W. G. Fay) persuades Shell that there is a greater reward than money and it is called Faith. When Shell wonders what Faith is, his roommate, a medical student, says, “It’s life.”

more here.