Jean Negulesco – The Mask of Dimitrios (1944)

Based on Eric Ambler’s novel of the same title. Another B movie from film’s heydey. It puts to shame much that is dubbed A List these days. The plot is serviceable and sustains a good narrative. The camera work is highly crafted. The sets are elaborate yet uncluttered. It is recognized that there actually are countries in the continent of Europe. Everybody smokes. Most of them drink. Many of them recognize emotional despair—theirs and others’. Negulesco was just beginning his lengthy directorial career. Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet teamed again to fine advantage. Greenstreet is given lines that do little to advance the plot, but the pleasant involutions of the script enable a further pleasure in hearing him speak. Peter Lorre sustains his imperturbability, even though he does not remotely have the accent of a Dutch detective story writer. The villain, played by Zachary Scott, is really villainous, but nonetheless cosmopolitan. The ending rather makes one regret the demise of the French franc.

The Mask of Dimitrios, Jean Negulesco

The Mask of Dimitrios

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