THE FIFTH HORSEMAN IS FEAR

fifthhorsemanisfear

The Fifth Horseman is Fear
Facets video
1964 / B&W
2:35 anamorphic 16:9
100 min.
…a páty jezdec je Strach
Street Date July 25, 2006

Starring Miroslav Machácek
Cinematography Jan Kalis
Production Designer Milan Nejedla
Film Editor Miroslav Hájek
Written by Zbynek Brynych, Ota Koval, Ester Krumbachová from a book by Hana Belohradska
Produced by Studio Barrandov
Directed by Zbynek Brynych

fifthhorseman

THE FIFTH HORSEMAN IS FEAR- To go by reviews on IMDB and AMAZON as well as various critics sites this Czech film is supposed to be a masterpiece. The recently departed Roger Ebert who I agreed with in some things called it.. “a near perfect film.”

Having watched it I have to say… not so much.

While I understand its historic significance in being an early filmic examination of life under an oppressive regime, I found its execution falling far short of its acclaim.

And as someone who is a fan of classic cinema and consider films such as THE THIRD MAN, and ODD MAN OUT and THE CRANES ARE FLYING, historically significant and brilliant films, THE FIFTH HORSEMAN IS FEAR is not a brilliant film. It has moments of interesting cinematography that unfortunately gets lost in the unfinished bones of a movie, a movie that is more exercise and experiment than finished film. I found THE FIFTH HORSEMAN IS FEAR tedious rather than engaging; and the screeching and overwrought performances and dialogue, felt false and empty.

I respect the film’s courage for trying to say something of import, given the perilous nature of when and where the film was made, but I have to say I don’t think the film says it well. Not today, and not even upon its release.

A film that by all means view if you can see it for free, but not something that I think you will be particularly enriched or intrigued by in the viewing. GRADE: If you can see it for free… fine, otherwise avoid. ** out of ****.

and-the-fifth-horseman-is-fear

THE THIRD MAN : One Never Knows!

“ONE NEVER knows when the blow may fall.

When I saw Rollo Martins first, I made this note on him for my security police files: “In normal circumstances a cheerful fool. Drinks too much and may cause a little trouble. Whenever a woman passes raises his eyes and makes some comment, but I get the impression that really he’d rather not be bothered. Has never really grown up and perhaps that accounts for the way he worshiped Lime.”

I wrote there that phrase “in normal circumstances” because I met him first at Harry Lime’s funeral. It was February, and the grave-diggers had been forced to use electric drills to open the frozen ground in Vienna’s central cemetery. It was as if even nature were doing its best to reject Lime, but we got him in at last and laid the earth back on him like bricks.

He was vaulted in, and Rollo Martins walked quickly away as though his long gangly legs wanted to break into a run, and the tears of a boy ran down his thirty-five-year-old cheeks. Rollo Martins believed in friendship, and that was why what happened later was a worse shock to him than it would have been to you or me. If only he had come to tell me then, what a lot of trouble would have been saved.”

-Graham Greene, The Third Man

First published in 1949 in the wake of the popularity of Carol Reed and Orson Welles’(star and uncredited co-director) THE THIRD MAN, the eponymous novel/novella was never really intended to exist. The novella was the first draft of Greene’s screenplay for the film. The film is the preferred format, even by Graham Greene. However the film’s extreme popularity spurred interest in the publication of the novel, as well as birthing a very popular score/record,

and a wonderful radio show (starring Orson Welles called THE LIVES OF HARRY LIME, it is brilliant).

The Lives of Harry Lime, Volume 1

Listen to Lives of Harry Lime for free Here!

But the novel really doesn’t sing by itself. It’s only in the audio-book format, when it’s tightened up a bit, and read by the cultured yet world wearied voice of the great James Mason that it becomes something brilliant and essential, and as haunting as the film.

The Third Man – Criterion Collection (2-Disc Edition)

As someone who considers THE THIRD MAN one of the greatest movies ever made, perhaps my favorite movie of all time, The James Mason read audio book (avoid the Martin Jarvis audio book, it’s just nowhere as good) is without doubt my favorite audio book.

The Third Man

I listen to it in the car and in my home… often.

And there’s something between the words, and the inflection of Mason’s voice that never ceases.. to enthrall.


“Happiness isn’t about getting what we want, it’s about appreciating what we have.”
—SPOOKS