HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Bird Island
Variety
Devil to Pay, The
Gypsy
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
   
 
Newest Articles
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
   
 
  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 2549 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: