Set in West Africa during WWII, an unhappily married police inspector (Trevor Howard) in the British colony of Sierra Leone, who is a devout Catholic, struggles with his conscience when he has an affair with a recently widowed young woman (Maria Schell). This situation is only exacerbated when he is blackmailed by a diamond smuggler (Gerard Oury) into compromising himself. Based on the highly acclaimed novel (Time named it one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century) by Graham Greene, the film stays remarkably close to the novel (except for the ending) and is anchored by a compelling performance by Howard, who gets under the very skin of a man torn apart by his betrayal of his wife, his mistress, his job and his God. The change of ending from the novel is odd only in that the film's ending is just as bleak as the novel's, so why bother to change it? Directed by George More O'Ferrell, the film keeps the spirit of Greene's work while compacting it. The excellent supporting cast includes Elizabeth Allan (an English import at MGM in the 1930s) as Howard's wife, Peter Finch, Michael Hordern, George Coulouris and Denholm Elliott as an insufferable snitch in love with Allan.
The Optimum DVD from Great Britain is a nice, solid transfer.