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


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!”

Dark Passage (1947) Bogart In First Person Face-Off Thriller

Dark Passage (1947) Humphrey Bogart Lauren Bacall movie poster

Was recommended this noir thriller starring husband and wife double act Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.  I for sure wasn’t expecting to be wowed by its unique take right from the get go. For this film’s first few acts are played out entirely in first person perspective. Meaning that our “hero” Vincent Parry (Humphrey Bogart) face is never seen for a big portion of the film. Filmed in a point of view (POV) style or his face being covered up. A very brave decision for the studio to have made I can imagine, not having your big star, leading man’s face on the screen. Continue reading “Dark Passage (1947) Bogart In First Person Face-Off Thriller”

The Street With No Name (1948) FBI, Gangsters, Infiltration and Informants

The Street with No Name (1948) poster movie film richard widmark

Funny how you watch one superb film and before you know it there’s two more excellent films you see connected to it and off back you go into movieland. This time it happened straight off the bat of watching the first-rate 1955 Samuel Fuller directed, Japan meets US gangster flick starring Robert Ryan called House Of Bamboo. On further investigation it revealed that the film was actually a loose remake of a 1948 Richard Widmark movie called The Street With No Name featuring the same theme of infiltrating a gangster outfit. Now I was hit by a dilemma? I can’t do every film I see, so which film gets a post? Continue reading “The Street With No Name (1948) FBI, Gangsters, Infiltration and Informants”

Crossfire (1947) Robert Ryan & Hate Is Like A Loaded Gun!

Crossfire (1947) poster noir classic drama robert ryan mitchum young

Another great thing about doing this here blog is discovering actors I had previously missed. Robert Ryan is one such actor. I know his face well from a couple of classic films, two big favourites of mine too. Playing Deke Thornton in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch and Col Everett Dasher Breed in Robert Aldrich’s The Dirty Dozen but you know what I’m ashamed to say I never knew his name or filmography. Continue reading “Crossfire (1947) Robert Ryan & Hate Is Like A Loaded Gun!”

Detour (1945) Savage Tongued Savage

Detour (1945) film noir drama thriller film poster movie

I’m in seventh heaven coming into the world of noir very late in the game. The fatalist stories might be depressing to some but they are so honest, brutal, compelling and extremely exciting. Quick penned stories that leave out all the filler and go straight to the killer. Hard hitting and original every single time. I watch one, another is recommended. Continue reading “Detour (1945) Savage Tongued Savage”

The Set-Up (1949) Robert “Rocky” Ryan

The Set-Up (1949) robert ryan boxing film noir movie poster

Here’s a super smashing punching sweating panting tension filled film noir boxing drama starring Robert Ryan as the aging human punch bag, Bill “Stoker” Thompson. What a film The Set-Up turned out to be and it popped my 40’s cherry on this here blog. Continue reading “The Set-Up (1949) Robert “Rocky” Ryan”