This weekend, the Gene Siskel Film Center, in Chicago, Illinois, will screen Carol Reed’s 1947 film Odd Man Out as part of its Brit Noir series. Based on a novel by F. L. Green, this stark psychological thriller stars James Mason as Johnny McQueen, a recently escaped convict who plots a robbery to fund a clandestine rebel organization. After his plans go awry, he is forced to hide out in the dark corners of a labyrinthine cityscape on a cold winter’s night, while both his lover and the police desperately search for him. Evocatively shot in deep-focus black and white by Australian cinematographer Robert Krasker, who would go on to collaborate with Reed on The Third Man, the director’s first masterpiece is a noir-inflected portrait of a tragic hero navigating his own hometown as a stranger.
Those in Chicago can see the film on 35 mm this Saturday or next Wednesday. For an in-depth examination of the film, read critic Imogen Sara Smith’s essay for our release, which notes how Odd Man Out “embodies the two seemingly opposed but equally essential sides of British cinema in the 1940s: the austere realism of such dramas as Brief Encounter and the visionary excess exemplified by the films of Powell and Pressburger.” Also, enjoy our Three Reasons video below: