The Fallen Idol (1948)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Childhood Drama, Psychological Drama  |   Release Date - Sep 30, 1948 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Michael Costello

In the first of his three collaborations with screenwriter Graham Greene, he and Carol Reed fashion a memorable film on one of the writer's pet themes: a child's discovery of the world of adult morality. In this case, the hero-worship of a young boy (Bobby Henrey) for the kindly butler (Ralph Richardson), in whose care he has been left, is damaged when he stumbles on the servant's adulterous affair. Told from the boy's point of view, it underlines his complete isolation when, in spite of his disillusionment, he tries to protect the butler during a police investigation. The filmmakers have maninpulated the plot to create a more suspenseful ending in allowing the boy to be tortured by his imagination, a childhood affliction which fascinated Greene. Richardson gives arguably his finest performance on film as a gentle, even noble character, whose concern for his charge eventually contributes to his undoing. Reed was especially gifted with child actors, and here, he elicits a higly nuanced performance from Henrey. Working without his usual cameraman, Robert Krasker, Reed nevertheless gets superb work from Georges PĂ©rinal, who transforms the narrow physical confines of this story into a fully dimensional world.