HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Initiation
Redoubt
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
PG: Psycho Goreman
Maeve
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
   
 
Newest Articles
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
   
 
  Thief, The Quiet Please
Year: 1952
Director: Russell Rouse
Stars: Ray Milland, Martin Gabel, Harry Bronson, Rita Vale, Rex O'Malley, Rita Gam, John McKutcheon, Joe Conlin
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The telephone is ringing in a dingy apartment and the sole occupant, Allen Fields (Ray Milland), lets it ring until it stops. He is a prize-winning nuclear scientist who has fallen on hard times and is being forced into situations he would rather avoid. Tonight, he leaves his apartment and walks out into the darkness, feeling stressed - is that someone watching him from across the street? Yes it is, for Fields is under surveillance, not by the F.B.I. but by an enemy power, one which can bend his weak will to their own devices...

The only reason The Thief is recalled today, if it is recalled at all, is because of its curiosity value. This is because it was one of the unusual, noir-ish movies made by the team of Russell Rouse (our director here) and Clarence Greene during the fifties; their most famous work was probably the gimmicky thriller D.O.A., which they wrote together, but if anything this film relies even more heavily on novelty. And yet, for all that it does seem to be a sincere examination of crushing guilt, which the lead character suffers for the whole movie until he cannot take it anymore.

Milland was the man cast possibly because of his triumph in his Oscar-winning role in The Lost Weekend, for there are scenes in this that are suspiciously similar to the Billy Wilder alcoholism drama. Witness Fields skulking through the streets at night, being driven to crime or lying in his bed, tossing and turning as the enormity of his actions prevents him from getting a peaceful night's sleep. Yet through all this he never confides or confesses to anyone, indeed not a word passes his lips, nor does one emerge from anyone else in the film.

This is because in its own idiosyncratic manner, The Thief is a silent movie. Not like those of before The Jazz Singer, but as an experiment to see if a story could be told cinematically without dialogue, and you have to say that they did succeed in doing that. What they don't succeed in carrying off is a compelling yarn, as we never get to know very much about Fields and as he's effectively a spy for the wrong side we don't find him sympathetic, even if he does labour under unbearable shame about his actions. The lack of anyone saying anything does, however, ramp up a particular tension akin to watching a tightrope walker - will anyone blurt out a sentence accidentally?

Well, nobody does, not even at the end, and as an exercise in paranoia this is interesting, although it does betray the unfortunate gulf between clever and entertaining. Everywhere Fields goes there is someone who knows who he is and is waiting for him to crack, either on the American side or the Other Side, and there always seems to be someone expecting him to hand over a microfilm of top secret nuclear weapons documents around every corner. The trouble is, this becomes very repetitive and without much variation in the plotting impatience can set in all too easily. Milland just about manages to hold it together, but he's facing an uphill struggle as after a while you want to say, yes, we get the idea, now give us a snappy line or two. Music by Herschel Burke Gilbert.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2796 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: