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Ministry Of Fear [DVD]

Ray Milland , Marjorie Reynolds , Fritz Lang    Parental Guidance   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: £19.90
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Product details

  • Actors: Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds, Carl Esmond, Hillary Brooke, Percy Waram
  • Directors: Fritz Lang
  • Writers: Seton I. Miller, Graham Greene
  • Producers: Buddy G. DeSylva, Seton I. Miller
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Optimum Home Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Sep 2007
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000RWDYAO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,088 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

1940s wartime spy drama directed by Fritz Lang. Stephen Neale (Ray Milland) has to find his way in war-torn England after spending two years in an asylum. Mistaken for someone else at a town festival, he inadvertantly stumbles into a spy ring and soon finds himself being pursued across the country, unsure of who to trust.

Product Description

This DVD Is Brand New & Sealed - Another DVD Is Now Becoming Very Collectible & Sought After. This DVD Is In Stock And Will Be Posted From The UK

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By The CinemaScope Cat TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Just released from a mental asylum for the mercy killing of his wife, a man (Ray Milland) wins a cake at a carnival by mistake. The cake was intended for a member of a covert Nazi group working in the U.K. but that mistake plunges Milland into a maelstrom of attempted murder, seances, femme fatales and spies. Based on a novel by Graham Greene and directed by Fritz Lang, the film is a rather far fetched if modestly entertaining spy thriller. But the film makers have excised all the darkness and moral ambiguity of Greene's book and put nothing in its place. This is one movie that deserves a remake! One of Lang's least memorable films. It doesn't help that the film is saddled with the pretty but bland Marjorie Reynolds as the heroine when the wickedly elegant "bad girl" Hillary Brooke is so much more intriguing. On the plus side, there's the atmospheric noir like cinematography of Henry Sharp (Vidor's THE CROWD). The workman like score is by Victor Young. With Dan Duryea, Alan Napier, Carl Esmond, Cyril Delevanti and Mary Field.

The B&W transfer from Optimum via Great Britain is a decent transfer.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If there ever was a man in movie history to make spy movies, Fritz Lang was that man. He was among the first to lay down the tropes of the genre in Dr. Mabuse and later Spione (which still echoes in James Bond and modern technotrillers), and he could also give it his own paranoid spin, pitting his heroes against all-powerful conspiracies and systems of oppression. Lang's movies are full of people being followed, ransacked offices, webs of deception and characters assuming false appearances and personas. Ministry of Fear is one of the best of those movies.

Set in wartime London, the movie stars Stephen Neale, a man released from an insane asylum, who accidentally finds himself in the middle of a Nazi espionage plot. An innocent fairground prize becomes a deadly lure; people get killed in disquieting ways and shadowy characters begin stalking our hero, who falls for a pretty Austrian refugee while on the run.

The action takes place in a claustrophobic world alternating between shadowy staircases, streets under blackout and dilapidated apartments, intercut with scenes in bright salons and perfectly wholesome offices, which contain a different, more subtle form of menace. It is to the credit of Ray Milland, the actor playing Neale, that he is perfect as the man being followed: he is full of nervous tension as he moves from shadow to shadow, always only a step ahead of his pursuers; it is his eyes, looking out for unseen enemies, that tell us he is being hunted. Marjorie Reynolds is good enough as the beautiful Carla, but credit must especially go to the unctuous Dan Duryea and the menacing Percy Waram, who play some of the movie's opponents with a threatening air.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Film Noir by Fritz Lang 26 Dec 2007
By Nobody VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
"The Ministry of Fear" was directed by Fritz Lang in 1944 and was adapted from the Graham Greene novel of the same name. "Ministry" is essentially a spy thriller similar to Alfred Hitchcock's "Foreign Correspondent" (1940). Hitchcock and Lang's career developed at pretty much the same time in the silent 20s and through the 30s although Lang's films suggested a far darker world view. With such classics as "Dr Mabuse: The Gambler"(1922), "Metropolis"(1927), "M"(1931) Lang established himself as a true innovator in German expressionist cinema and its that quality which he would take with him when he moved to Hollywood in the mid 30s. Lang can be credited as a major player in the development of Film Noir where imagery would become a significant part of the story. His first two American films "Fury"(1936) and "You Only Live Once"(1937) are often credited as two of the earliest examples of Film Noir before the 1940s. In 1944 and 1945 he made three classics of Film Noir: "Ministry of Fear", "The Woman in the Window"(1944) and "Scarlett Street"(1945). It can be difficult for younger audiences to appreciate what makes Lang so important because many of his cinematic innovations seem commonplace today but Lang's dark vision of modern metropoli and a deep sense of paranoia and fear was truly original at the time. "Ministry of Fear" has all the popular themes of Film Noir such as labyrinthine plots, femme fatales and the innocent man being sucked into the whirlpool of the Noir world that makes it a brilliantly entertaining genre to watch. Film Noir buffs will not want to miss this.

The Optimum Home Entertainment DVD is of a good standard.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Innocent? Prove it! 27 Feb 2011
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ministry Of Fear is directed by Fritz Lang & is adapted for the screen by Seton I. Miller from the Graham Greene novel "The Ministry Of Fear." It stars Ray Milland as Stephen Neale, an ex-insane asylum inmate who is released after a two year sentence for what was allegedly the "mercy" killing of his incurably ill wife. Upon his release Neale buys his train ticket to London but is drawn to a fête being held near the rail station. From here, after a bizarre encounter with a fortune teller and a go at a "guess the weight of the cake" booth, he is thrust into a world of espionage; a world that sees him now have the Nazis on his tail.

The film opens with a ticking clock, the seconds counting down to midnight. Germanesque credits arrive on the screen, telling us of our principal players and film makers. A rear shot of a man sitting in a chair staring up at said clock, that man is Ray Milland as Stephen Neale and we immediately know that atmosphere will play a big part in this story. Things are further made interesting when a trio of interesting points suddenly leap out and force us the viewer to notice. Just what sort of film has its protagonist be released from a mental asylum at midnight? How come the rail station is open after midnight? And more importantly, what sort of fête is held at this time of night? You could easily be forgiven for thinking you have just stepped into The Twilight Zone some 14 years before it sprang from Rod Serling's brain!

Of course this being a Fritz Lang film one shouldn't be surprised to find the piece heavy on atmosphere. Yet Lang apparently didn't have it all his own way on the movie, issues about the script and other technical matters apparently blighted the production.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Ministry of Fear DVD
I enjoy classic black and white films. This was a good film, I thought, of its era, exciting and edgy.
Published 11 months ago by Miranda Stonor
3.0 out of 5 stars Minor but Interesting Lang
Ministry of Fear (1944) is one of four Fritz Lang wartime espionage thrillers that were interfered with by their respective studios beyond the director's control. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Film Buff
4.0 out of 5 stars An All Time Favourite!
I love this film. It's been on TV countless times, and I enjoy it every time. This OPTIMUM release is OK. Read more
Published 16 months ago by A. W. Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars an entertainment
The Ministry of Fear, published in 1943 was always one of my favourite Graham Greene novels. Unconventional and surreal, it was thriller writing with attitude. Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2012 by tallmanbaby
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't guess the weight of the cake!
All sorts of pleasures from this film. The idea that Lang really lost his edge when he went to Hollywood just is not true - Scarlet Street, Hangmen Also Die! Read more
Published on 4 July 2011 by Simon
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Fun to Watch Him Muddle Through
"The Ministry of Fear," (1944) is a black and white British spy story/crime drama/thriller/film noir, based on the book of the same name, The Ministry Of Fear: An Entertainment... Read more
Published on 12 April 2011 by Stephanie De Pue
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable film noir
Phout's review makes the good point that many of Lang's innovations now seem commonplace, so it can be hard to appreciate just how good he was. Read more
Published on 24 May 2009 by Mark Pack
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun entertainment
Steve Neale (Ray Milland) is let out of a psychiatric hospital after finishing his sentence for murdering his wife. Read more
Published on 28 Dec 2008 by Alex da Silva
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