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

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James Mason and Claire Bloom star in The Man Between, Carol Reed’s stylish romantic thriller of blackmail, bigamy and bullets 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 her 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 and even the title of the film ensured comparison to Reed’s The Third Man, and undoubtedly it falls short of that masterpiece. But it 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.

production details
UK / 100 minutes / 1953

Director: Carol Reed
Writers: Harry Kurnitz, from an original story by Walter Ebert,

cast
Claire Bloom as Suzanne Mallison
James Mason as Ivo Kern
Hildegard Knef as Bettina
Geoffrey Toone as Martin Mallison
Hilde Sessak as Lizzi
Aribert Wäscher as Halendar
Dieter Krause as Horst
Karl John as Inspector Kleiber
Ljuba Welitsch as Opera singer
Ernst Schröder as Olaf Kastner

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