Man Between, The (1953, James Mason, Claire Bloom)

Man Between

James Mason and Claire Bloom star The Man BetweenCarol Reed’s stylish romantic thriller of blackmail, bigamy and bullets set in post-war Berlin.

The scarred city is gripped by suspicion as the State agencies of East and West battle for diplomatic supremacy. Into this maelstrom skips Susanne Mallison (Claire Bloom), an adventurous English rose who’s come to stay with brother Martin (Geoffrey Toone) – a British army doctor – and his nervous German wife, Bettina (Hildegarde Neff).

On a trip into the city’s Eastern district, Susanne falls for mysterious black marketeer, Ivo Kern (James Mason). However, Kern and Bettina share a dark secret that has forced them into a deadly game of political intrigue as the Communist authorities try to stop refugees escaping into West Berlin. Unwittingly, Susanne has just become a player in their dangerous game.

The setting, characters, even the title of the film ensured comparison to Reed’s The Third Man , and undoubtedly it falls short of that masterpiece. But The Man Between still knocks most romantic thrillers for six thanks to the acting, Harry Kurnitz’s script and, of course, Reed’s peerless ability to evoke the tension of war-torn Berlin.

UK / 1953

Director: Carol Reed
Writer: Harry Kurnitz (from an original story by Walter Ebert)

Cast: James Mason, Claire Bloom, Hildegarde Neff, Geoffrey Toone, Aribert Wascher, Ernst Schroeder, Hilde Sessak, Ellen Isenta, Joseph Kamper, Karl Justel, Karl John, Dieter Krause

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