Ministry of Fear (1944) Nazis, Bombs & Spies, Fortune Tellers & Cake!

Ministry of Fear (1944) Ray Milland Fritz Lang movie poster mystery noir drama

Having sat in his room staring at the swinging pendulum of his ticking clock for two years straight, Stephen Neale (Ray Milland) has had time contemplating life and reflecting what the future will hold for him. After being on his own for those years, Stephen fancies the hustle and bustle of London, to be surrounded by people again. He’s probably picked a bad time to visit London, the city is being pounded by the Germans during The Blitz but he’s determined. With a spring in his step he takes off to the local train station. As he leaves his building of residence, the camera pans to show the engraved sign on the wall, Lembridge Asylum!

Ministry of Fear (1944) Ray Milland Fritz Lang Lembridge AsylumMinistry of Fear (1944) Ray Milland Fritz Lang Lembridge Asylum wall sign

Tagline – Menace… Behind every shadow! Suspense… In Every Move!

With time to wait for the train and the sound of happy voices, he excitedly investigates a church fete run by volunteers of a charity, The Mothers of Free Nations. With all the ladies wanting his attention and money donations, Stephen is whisked from one stall to another. Before he knows it, he is standing in front of his destiny, the one thing that will change this day into a living nightmare of madness, Nazi spy rings, espionage, fortune tellers, hit-men, bombs, murder, guns, Batman’s servant! and a whole bunch of untrustworthy, dodgy looking people.

Ministry of Fear (1944) Ray Milland fortune teller tentMinistry of Fear (1944) Ray Milland fete fare guess the cake weight noir

What on Earth could be that one thing that starts this horrible chain of events?…….. A cake!! A blooming cake I Tell you!

Poor Stephen Neale has an eventful series of misadventures ahead of him and every turn he takes, it brings another adventure, as he crosses paths with a series of mysterious characters. From the likes of brother and sister duo Carla Hilfe (Marjorie Reynolds) and Willi Hilfe (Carl Esmond), private detective George Rennit (Erskine Sanford), a shadowy figure (Percy Waram), a posh looking stern chap called Mr Cost (Dan Duryea), a top psychiatrist called Dr Forrester (Alan Napier) and the crazy beautiful and mysterious spirit medium Mrs Bellane (Hillary Brooke).

Ministry of Fear (1944) Carla Hilfe (Marjorie Reynolds) and Willi Hilfe (Carl Esmond)Ministry of Fear (1944) spirit medium Mrs Bellane (Hillary Brooke) at home

There a hell of a lot going on in this mystery drama, racing along at blistering speed. With everyone looking mighty suspicious and danger lurking around every corner, can our hero work out WTF is going on? Or could it all be in his mind, remember he has only recently been released from a mental asylum? Whatever it maybe, it sure is entertaining being onboard this crazy train journey through the Ministry Of Fear.

Ministry of Fear (1944) Ray Milland book shop naziMinistry of Fear (1944)a shadowy figure (Percy Waram)

Things I’ve learnt.

  • Directed by Fritz Lang whom I’m slowly working my way through his films. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt and The Big Heat both recent to me and amazing. I have Hangmen Also Die and M on the starter blocks ready to race on to my screens. Plus I saw it stoned as a youth but I really need to see Metropolis again. Sure to appreciate it on a whole new level. Please feel free to recommend others.
  • The images and cinematography are just divine, especially early shots of Ray Milland and the Medium Hillary Brooke.

Ministry of Fear (1944) spirit medium Mrs Bellane (Hillary Brooke)

  • Made me chuckle to myself as Ray Milland sits with the fortune teller at the beginning and I thought, hey, in the future you will be switching roles and become the all seeing eye in X The Man With X-Ray Eyes.
  • Based on the novel of the same name by Graham Greene. A man who penned many classics which were adapted into film. From Brighton Rock, Our Man In Havana, The Quiet American and also wrote the story for director Carol Reed noir classic, The Third Man. With knowing Soviet spy Kim Philby and connections with M16, traveling the world, to meeting Fidel Castro, Graham Greene sounds like he saw a lot of life. Would like to see a documentary on him if there is one!

Ministry of Fear (1944) Ray Milland Fritz Lang movie opening title screen shot

I really enjoyed this fun twisting mystery noir drama. I know I’m late to the party but how much fun I’m having catching up with all these fantastic movies. If you’ve seen it or go off and see it, feel free to let me know what you thought if you wish.

Where will movieland take me next? Who knows!  Thanks for popping by. Mikey The Wolf


Pathfinder (1987) Shivering Snowy Scandinavian Survival Fable

Pathfinder (1987) Aigin (Mikkel Gaup) cover picture dvd TV

In this Norwegian, freeze your goolies off, action adventure film from director and writer Nils Gaup, we get to witness a survival tale set in the bleak frozen lands and fjords of Northern Norway, some time around 1000 AD. Pathfinder is a tale about the Sami people, a traditional reindeer herding community living in the harsh regions of the north. A peaceful people, keeping in small family groups, utilising the resources of furs, hunting and coastal fishing. With the help of their Pathfinder, a spiritual shaman, they plan their days to a beat of a small drum and mystical symbols. Continue reading “Pathfinder (1987) Shivering Snowy Scandinavian Survival Fable”

Bad Boys (1983) America’s Own British Borstal Prison Drama “Scum”

Bad Boys (1983) poster sean penn prison drama movie

As teenage boys, these gritty prison dramas and brutal tales of youths fighting the system and getting banged up were all the rage in our VHS rental days! The grand daddy of these was the notorious savage borstal prison TV play and later, film Scum which starred Ray Winstone.  A few other titles around the time were Made In Britain, McVicar and even the girls had a go in Scrubbers. Yeah we really were way too young to watch these films but I guess in a strange way that rather than make us into raging psychotic hoodlums, I think they put a terrifying fear into you that there’s no way you going to end up in the clink. Continue reading “Bad Boys (1983) America’s Own British Borstal Prison Drama “Scum””

Brute Force (1947) Sadistic Prison Guard Gives Lancaster Beef!

Brute Force (1947) mvie poster burt lancaster jules dassin

Tough driving rain smashes against the brick fortress of the Westgate Penitentiary prison walls. If the place wasn’t dark enough as it was, the bleak cold rain just added more dreary dread to the inmates banged up inside. Six guys per cell room, squeezed in like sardines, so close together you just had to be friends. Luckily the six in cellroom R17 are tight together, a band of brothers watching out for each other. Continue reading “Brute Force (1947) Sadistic Prison Guard Gives Lancaster Beef!”

Split Second (1953) Of All The Places To Drop An Atomic Bomb!

Split Second (1953) Dick Powell directed atom bomb film noir drama

Two escaped convicts on the run, one with a murderous temper, the other, a belly full of lead! Running for freedom, these two crooks need a place to lay low. A place far away, a place no cop or interfering civilians will go.  Hard man Sam Hurley (Stephen McNally) knows the perfect place, an old derelict mining ghost town in the Nevada Desert.  Maybe he can arrange to get his fugitive pal Bart Moore (Paul Kelly) fixed up at the same time. With the help of the silent but loyal gangster muscle who helped them breakout the joint, Dummy (Frank de Kova), they make their way to their perfect safe haven. Continue reading “Split Second (1953) Of All The Places To Drop An Atomic Bomb!”

Side Street (1950) Temptation Brings Pain And Misery!

Side Street (1950) poster art movie noir film mann

Captain Walter Anderson – “New York City, an architectural jungle where fabulous wealth and the deepest squalor live side by side. New York, the busiest, the loneliest, the kindest, and the cruelest of cities. Three hundred and eighty new citizens are being born today in the city. One hundred and ninety-two persons will die. Twelve persons will die violent deaths. And at least one of them will be a victim of murder. A murder a day, every day of the year, and each murder will wind up on my desk.”

Continue reading “Side Street (1950) Temptation Brings Pain And Misery!”

The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973) Ivan Dixon, Sam Greenlee & Herbie Hancock

The Spook Who Sat By The Door (1973) director Ivan Dixon posterThe Spook Who Sat by the Door is a novel by writer, poet Sam Greenlee which was published in 1969 causing quite the stir with it’s controversial political message. A satire on revolutionary reaction to civil rights in America during the sixties. A race motivated story with a direct response against the white oppression lived by African Americans in the United States. To shake things up, giving power to the people through the means of freedom fighters to push their important message across.

Continue reading “The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973) Ivan Dixon, Sam Greenlee & Herbie Hancock”

Sitting Target (1972) No Cage Can Hold Oliver Reed & His Lust For Revenge!

Sitting Target (1972) oliver reed film movie jail break hitman poster

Banged up brute Harry Lomart (Oliver Reed) is in for a long stretch this time, possibly 15 years. Well he has murdered someone but at least his wife will wait for him till he gets out. He keeps fit by working out hard in his prison cell, like a caged gorilla doing pull ups from the pipework on the ceiling. Keep active, keep strong and the years will flyby, then he can be back in the arms of his lady. Yeah he can deal with the shakedowns and crappy food, he’s as strong as an ox. Continue reading “Sitting Target (1972) No Cage Can Hold Oliver Reed & His Lust For Revenge!”

When Eight Bells Toll (1971) Wondered If Anthony Hopkins Could Play James Bond?

When Eight Bells Toll (1971) - movie poster one sheet action packed bond style

Randomly watched another Alistair Maclean novel getting the movie business after watching The Satan Bug the day before. Not realising until doing this post they were penned by the same author. When Eight Bells Toll had high hopes, with the studio and producers excitedly thinking they had a new secret agent franchises on their hands. The chance of a new James Bond style character to entertain those hungry for more stories of espionage and British secret agents taking on the megalomaniacs. Unfortunately it didn’t go to plan, though we do get one very well written , exciting thriller to watch and I have to say it’s most excellent fun. Continue reading “When Eight Bells Toll (1971) Wondered If Anthony Hopkins Could Play James Bond?”