1948, Rialto Pictures, 95 min, UK, Dir: Carol Reed

Carol Reed, one of England’s most celebrated directors, probes the complexity and callousness of human relationships in this Oscar-nominated adaptation of a story by Graham Greene. Told through the naive eyes of an upper-class boy, the film centers on his idealization of his father’s butler, Baines, who entertains him with extravagant (and fictional) accounts of heroic adventures. Contrasting this is the reality of Baines’s unhappy, loveless marriage and his dreams of escaping his lot in life. Top-shelf performances from Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, and young Bobby Henrey fuel this suspenseful, exceptionally written story of loyalty, betrayal, and everything in between.

1953, Pathé, 103 min, France/Mexico, Dir: Yves Allegret

Was director Yves Allegret “answering” Henri-Georges Clouzot with this film, where the setting is highly reminiscent of the oppressive atmosphere permeating THE WAGES OF FEAR? Here, however, there is no harrowing adventure tale at the dark center of the story - only the ravaged lives of two lost souls (Gérard Philipe, a doctor whose dalliance in a sweltering Mexican town has reduced him to a hopeless drunk; Michèle Morgan, a woman whose life hangs in the balance once her disreputable husband dies during the outset of a raging typhoid epidemic). What happens to these two is the crux of this powerful melo-noir that dares to take both of them to the brink of degradation, with only the barest chance of escape. Adapted by Jean Aurenche from a play by Jean-Paul Sartre.

1957, Warner Bros., 92 min, USA, Dir: Jeffrey Hayden

Adapted by screenwriter Michael Blankfort from a novel by Ursula Keir, this intoxicating crime drama follows two Italian brothers - one of them on the run from a murder charge - who seek refuge in the wine country of southern France. The criminal Ernesto (John Kerr) is drawn to a married woman (Michele Morgan) while his sibling Giancarlo (Mel Ferrer) attracts the affection of the young Lucienne (Pier Angeli). With the police and an angry husband (Leif Erickson) to contend with, will the brothers choose love or life on the lam? Features sweeping vistas of the French countryside as well as a pulsating score by David Raksin (which includes guitar work by costar Theodore Bikel).

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