Segments in this Video

Introduction: Carol Reed (04:11)


This episode of “The Directors” revisits the work of Oscar-winning filmmaker Carol Reed, a stylist who is synonymous with British cinema. His most beloved motion pictures include “Oliver,” “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” and “The Third Man.”

Reed's Early Life and Career (02:45)

Reed was born in 1906 in London. He was the illegitimate son of Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, a famous actor. He studied acting under Dame Sybil Thorndike before being hired by thriller writer Edgar Wallace, who had begun adapting theatrical productions for film.

Reed's First Feature Films (04:28)

Wallace died in 1932, and Reed found work with Ealing Studios where he rose through the ranks before directing the high seas drama, “Midshipman Easy.” He made a series of movies with actress Margaret Lockwood that includes “Bank Holiday” and “Night Train to Munich.”

Patriotic Movie (02:07)

Reed directed a biopic on statesman William Pitt the Younger, called “The Young Mr. Pitt.” It alluded to Britain’s glory days and celebrated a young prime minister who shared many traits in common with Winston Churchill.

"Odd Man Out" (03:16)

In 1944, Reed directed “The Way Ahead,” which follows a group of raw British army recruits from training to battle. It was an early example of a type of war movie that has become commonplace. Reed produced an award-winning war documentary before returning to feature films.

Defining Trio (05:15)

“Odd Man Out,” starring James Mason as a fugitive member of the IRA, was the first of three mid-career films that defined Reed’s work. The director followed with “The Fallen Idol” and “The Third Man,” collaborations with author Graham Greene.

“Outcast of the Islands” (03:22)

In 1951, Reed directed an adaptation of a Joseph Conrad novel. Audiences found the story to be too grim, and it was not greatly appreciated in its day. Reed reunited with Mason for “The Man Between.”

Shooting in Color (03:26)

Reed wanted to create a more sentimental story after several dark films, and he directed “A Kid for Two Farthings.” He followed with “The Trapeze,” which stars Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, and Gina Lollabrigida.

All-Star Thriller (03:13)

Reed continued the pattern of pairing an Italian starlet with an American leading man with “The Key,” which stars William Holden and Sophia Loren. Then he worked on an adaptation of Greene’s novel, “Our Man in Havana.”

Intense Psychodrama (03:09)

Reed next worked on “Mutiny on the Bounty,” but he had to leave the film before it was finished. Reed’s next film, “The Running Man,” stars Laurence Harvey as a bankrupted businessman who fakes his own death to commit insurance fraud.

Historical Epic (03:37)

Reed directed “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” which stars Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison as Michelangelo and Pope Julius 2. The movie depicts the events that led to the painting of the Sistine Chapel’s vault.

Hit Musical Adaptation (04:31)

Reed next worked on “Oliver,” which is based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, “Oliver Twist.” His nephew was cast as Bill Sikes, and the film was a massive blockbuster. It earned Reed an Oscar for Best Director.

Credits: Carol Reed (00:40)

Credits: Carol Reed

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Carol Reed

Part of the Series : The Directors (Series 3)
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Carol Reed was an English film director known for Odd Man Out (1947), Night Train to Munich (1948), The Fallen Idol (1948), Our Man in Havana (1959), and the musical Oliver! (1968) for which he received the Academy Award for Best Director. However, the film for which he is best known is his adaptation of Graham Greene’s The Third Man (1949) starring Orson Welles and featuring the iconic Anton Karas “Harry Lime” theme.

Length: 44 minutes

Item#: BVL192404

ISBN: 978-1-64623-541-4

Copyright date: ©2019

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