To say Germany, and in particular Berlin, was a strange and confusing place to be during the post-World War II Allied occupation would be an understatement. Split into four sectors, administered by Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the USA, conflicts of interest were rife. As the tension built, Berlin became a microcosm of the Cold War which was to follow. Carol Reed plays on these disagreements and covert activities in his film The Man Between.
Susanne (Claire Bloom) visits post-war Berlin to visit her brother Martin (Geoffrey Toone), who is working for the British military. For the naive Susanne, it’s an opportunity to meet her new sister-in-law Bettina (Hildegard Knef) and to have a bit of an adventure. She falls for the suave and charismatic Ivo Kern (James Mason), a friend of Bettina’s who offer to show her the city. However, Ivo is evasive and seems preoccupied. Then there’s the mysterious Halendar (Aribert Wäscher) who seems to stalk there every move.
Reed puts the rubble-strewn streets and bombed-out apartments to good use as The Man Between is pervaded by an air of danger and mystery. Beautifully lit and shot, Berlin becomes a city of shadows and dark passages. Mason is at his charismatic best, layering on the charm whilst harbouring dark secrets and a chequered past. The Man Between is a superior espionage thriller where danger lurks around every corner.
- New Interview with Claire Bloom
- New Carol Reed: A Gentle Eye documentary
- BFI Audio Interview with James Mason from 1967
The new 2K restoration of The Man Between is released on Blu-ray, DVD and EST by Studiocanal Vintage Classics on 2 January.