Follow TV Tropes

Following

Film / Odd Man Out

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/odd_man_out_1947_9.jpg
Chiaroscuro
Advertisement:

Odd Man Out is a 1947 film directed by Carol Reed.

It takes place over a single afternoon and evening in an unnamed city in Northern Ireland that is obviously Belfast. Johnny McQueen (James Mason) is the leader of a cell in an unnamed "illegal organization" that is obviously the Irish Republican Army. As the film opens, Johnny and his gang are planning to rob the safe of a local textile mill, seeking cash to fund operations and provide for the dependents of IRA members. The only problem is, the rest of the gang is worried about Johnny's leadership. Johnny was in prison for six months and then he spent six more months in hiding, holed up in the home of his girlfriend Kathleen, and the others have noticed that Johnny seems to have gone a little bit soft. Both Kathleen and Johnny's lancer Dennis urge him to sit the robbery out, but he refuses.

Advertisement:

It turns out that they were right to worry. Johnny has a dizzy spell at the worst possible moment as the gang is escaping from the textile mill. He's stopped by a man from the mill, and in the struggle the mill worker is fatally shot and Johnny is seriously wounded in the arm. To make matters worse, he can't get into the car during the frantic getaway and eventually falls out onto the street as the car careens through Belfast. Johnny staggers away and eventually finds a temporary hiding place in an old bomb shelter. He spends the next several hours bouncing around Belfast, getting steadily weaker and weaker from loss of blood, while Dennis and Kathleen try to save him, the police try and catch him, and various civilians either try to stay uninvolved or seek to turn him in for the reward.


Advertisement:

Tropes:

  • Apathetic Citizens: Most of the people Johnny encounters want nothing to do with him. The ones who do, want to turn him in for the reward.
  • Armed Blag: A safe, instead of the usual armored car, but the trope plays out this way with gun-toting tough guys stealing a lot of cash.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Near the end, Johnny, who is rapidly fading, starts shouting out from the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians (the "when I was a child, I spoke as a child" chapter).
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Tober, who abandoned his medical studies some time ago for reasons unexplained, and is now hanging out with drunks and weirdos like Shell and Lukey. He quite competently sews up Johnny's wound when Johnny is brought to him.
  • Blatant Lies: The getaway car driver helps cause the disaster by refusing to back up after Johnny falls out of the car. Later, after they have to report back to Dennis, he insisted that he wanted to go back for Johnny but the other two members of the gang told him not to.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The gun at Grandma's house, which Kathleen manages to hide in her coat in a tense scene where the cops are searching the house. It remains in her coat until the ending where she uses it to commit Suicide by Cop.
  • Chiaroscuro: Lots of shots of people dashing down dark, damp Belfast streets that are lit dramatically by the beams of streetlights. These shots are dramatically reminiscent of some shots in Reed's other classic, The Third Man.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Not cats and not a lady. But Shell the derelict is a weird old man who lives in a shabby room that's crammed full of birds in cages.
  • Downer Ending: Johnny and Kathleen are within sight of the ship that will bear them to safety when the cops chase them down. Kathleen, knowing there's no escape, pulls out a gun and commits Suicide by Cop. Kathleen and Johnny die, we pan up to the Albert Memorial Clock, and the movie ends.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: A little more than eight hours. There's a scene with the robbery planning, then the Albert Clock is heard striking four during the robbery, and at the end the clock is heard striking midnight.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: How Johnny is framed as he's trying to hide from the two young lovers who have snuck into the bomb shelter for sex.
  • Fictional Counterpart: An "illegal organization" in the opening credits, and referred to after as "the organization" by its members. It's the IRA.
  • Gilligan Cut: One of the two gang members hiding at Theresa's house insists that they can trust her, saying "I know Theresa like I know a bad sixpence. She's right as rain." This is immediately followed by Theresa calling the cops and telling them that two IRA soldiers are hiding in her house.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: It's pouring rain as Johnny is sent back out in the street, still bleeding profusely and steadily growing weaker, after Maudie's husband comes home and refuses to let her shelter a wanted criminal.
  • Gun Struggle: The struggle between Johnny and the payroll clerk at the mill ends, unusually, with both of them getting shot. Johnny's seriously wounded and the other guy is dead.
  • Hallucinations: Johnny hallucinates the people he's encountered during the evening, while staring down into the foam bubbles of spilled beer. Later, he has a hallucination of the priest preaching.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: And completely accidentally. Johnny gets shoved into the back of a carriage, where he passes out. "Gin" the carriage driver, who has no idea that a wanted murderer is in his carriage, casually drives up to the police checkpoint. The patrolman sees a man slumped in the back and asks who Gin is carrying. Gen cheerfully says "Johnny!" The cop laughs and waves him through. Gin is horrified to later discover that Johnny really was in the back of his carriage.
  • Hitler Cam: Used for a shot of Johnny as he starts to get more Christ-like while quoting from 1st Corinthians.
  • Impairment Shot: Johnny has a dizzy spell while fleeing the office, with disastrous consequences.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Granny points to her old wedding picture and says to Kathleen, "I was 19 then, and as lovely as yourself." Then she talks some more about how all the young men of the neighborhood pursued her. She's not just reminiscing, she has a point; she dumped a rascally outlaw in favor of a dependable husband, and Kathleen should do the same.
  • Messianic Archetype: The film is filled with religious iconography. Johnny eventually becomes a Christ-like figure, suffering as he staggers around downtown Belfast in a manner that evokes Christ's journey to Calvary. Near the end he's reciting New Testament verses.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: It's "a city of Northern Ireland" that is quite plainly Belfast, showing the docks and the Albert Memorial Clock.
  • Pinball Protagonist: After he gets shot, Johnny is largely passive for the rest of the movie, other than stumbling around and sometimes drifting on the edge of consciousness. It's not him that's driving the action, but the other people that run into him, like the barkeep who is desperate to get him out of the bar, or the cabbie who is unpleasantly surprised to find Johnny passed out in the back of the cab, the little girl who leads Dennis to Johnny's hiding place, and others.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The police inspector hunting for Johnny. He's intimidating, but fair-minded. He warns Kathleen that Johnny belongs to the law now and there's nothing she can do for him.
    Granny: That wasn't a bad fellow as far as them fellows goes. He spoke fair."
  • Snow Means Death: The rain from earlier in the evening has turned to snow at the end, setting an appropriate mood as a dying Johnny staggers towards the docks.
  • Suicide by Cop: The police have tracked them to the pier. Johnny can barely stand; Kathleen realizes that they aren't going to make it to the boat waiting to take Johnny away. So she pulls out a gun and starts shooting, and both she and Johnny are killed.
  • Sweater Girl: Kathleen wears some tight sweaters.
  • Together in Death: Kathleen and Johnny are found crumpled in death together after they're shot down by the cops.
  • We Need a Distraction: Dennis helps Johnny to escape by drawing the attention of the approaching cops, running off, and then firing his gun into the air. Johnny is able to successfully stumble away.
Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback