The Mask of Dimitrios

The Mask of Dimitrios

This glossy "international" thriller, based on an Eric Ambler novel, seems modest because there are no stars in it, only featured players. In the days when studios had stars under contract, it didn't cost the company anything to toss them into a movie, so this starless picture was considered a real oddity. Peter Lorre is--surprise--the good guy. This doesn't turn out to be such a hot idea: when Lorre isn't being a degenerate, sly pussycat he's plump and pleasant, but colorless. He is cast as a Dutch novelist who tries to track down the background of the corpse, Dimitrios (Zachary Scott). The trail leads to strange places (Istanbul, Smyrna, Sofia, Belgrade, etc.) and to familiar people-- Sydney Greenstreet, Victor Francen, Faye Emerson, Eduardo Ciannelli, Florence Bates, Monte Blue, Steven Geray, and John Abbott (you could hardly have a tale of dark intrigue without him). Directed by Jean Negulesco, the picture has more mood than excitement. The screenplay is by Frank Gruber. Warners.