The Fallen Idol

Synopsis: Philippe, a diplomat's son and good friend of Baines the butler, is confused by the complexities and evasions of adult life. He tries to keep secrets but ends up telling them. He lies to protect his friends, even though he knows he should tell the truth. He resolves not to listen to adults' stories any more when Baines is suspected of murdering his wife and no-one will listen to Philippe's vital information.
Director(s): Carol Reed
Production: Rialto
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
95 min

Good day, sir.

In his office there, miss.

Uh, Baines, is, uh - | is the ambassador's car at the door?

- It's waiting, sir. | - His Excellency has been delayed. He'll drive straight to the airport.

Of course.

Oh, uh, Baines, flowers for her room.

You know the sort my | wife likes. After eight

months in a hospital the | place must look like home.

She'll find everything | just as she left it, sir.

The doctors don't yet know | if they'll permit her to fly.

- The journey will be a strain. | - Master Phillipe, sir.

He should have his hair cut. | He looks as if we've neglected him.

Any message for | your mother, Phillipe?

Tell her I've got | something to show her.

That will bring her home. | Look after the embassy while I'm away.

Be back on Monday morning | with my wife, I hope.

I hope so too, Your Excellency. | It's been a long time.

Papa. Papa.

Au revoir, Papa.

Hello, Macgregor.


Hello, Macgregor. Hello.

Come on. Come on. Hmm.

Come on.


Look. London.

Good day, sir.



- One of her moods again. | - Always some grouse.

Not healthy to be as clean as all that.

You be careful, sonny. | Mrs. Baines is on the warpath again.

Anyway, these foreigners like a bit of dirt.

Poor kid. Be a good thing | for him when his mother gets back.

Master Phillipe,just because | your father's away for a couple of days...

you mustn't think | you can run wild all over the house.

No, Mrs. Baines.

I've got plenty to do | without clearing up after you.

What's that you've got in your hand? | Show me. What is it?

Piece of chalk.

You've been making marks | all over the floor again?

- Well? Have you? | - Just little marks.

Give me the chalk. | Come on. Give it to me.

Have you done what | I told you to do, Master Phillipe?

Done what?

- Got rid of it. | - Yes.

You know what happens | to little boys who tell lies?

I won't have any vermin | in any house I run.

Did you put it where I told you to? | Down the lavatory?

- Did you? Answer me. Did you? | - Yes.

What are you hiding in your pockets?

Bring your hand out. | Show me. Come along.

Only toffees.

I won't have you eating between meals,

Master Phillipe. Give them to me.

You need a mother's care. | I've tried to do it for months.

Is that all you've got? Run along, | and try and not get into mischief.

It's difficult enough | with half the staff away.

- See you on Monday, Mr. Baines. | - Have a good weekend, Harry.

Get out of it.

Can't you see I'm busy?

Can't you pick on someone else?

Well, since you are here, | you might as well do a job of work.

- Get on with that. | - Look. Macgregor.

Oh. Hmm.

Looking well this morning, isn't he?

- Have you got a little box for him? | - Little box?

Hmm. Might find something.

Will you take me for a | walk this afternoon, Baines?

Well, I might, if you work hard enough. | I might. We'll see.

Quite a lot to be done.

This is exciting - | your mother coming back- isn't it?

Yes, but, you know, | I don't remember her very well.

Have a glass of pop, | Phile. Spot of drink...

...will do us good. Give us | an appetite for dinner.

- I am having my meals down here, aren't I? | - Of course.

- What have you got for chop? | - Chop?

You said that was | what food was called in Africa.

- Oh, yes, of course. Chop. | - Tell me more about Africa.

- Another time. | - Was is it hot there?

You never felt such heat. | Not - Not even where you come from.

Not a nice heat, mind you, | like you get in the park on a day like this.

The white man's grave, they call it.

Wet. Smelling of rot.

- What does rot smell of? | - Eh?

Oh, the opposite to this.

I smell that carbolic stuff.

When there's nothing | but carbolic round you hanker after rot.

Mmm. I understand.

- Hmm. | - It reeks of chains.

Yes. Hmm.

- It's a man's life out there, Phile. | - But why did you leave Africa?

Why? Oh, um, | get married, you know.

Wasn't there anybody to marry | out there in Africa?

Oh, yes. Plenty. | But they weren't white.

- Must they be white? | - Um - Hmm.

Ah, Mrs. Patterson. | What are you doing with those?

- Mrs. Baines told us to fill 'em. | - Where's Dolly and the others?

The weekend off. The | place is empty except for

Mrs. Baines, Phile and me. We carry on.

Phile, drink up the pop | and lend a hand with this.

Don't overwork him, Mr. Baines.

Got to make a living like everybody else.

- Does everybody make a living? | - Everybody.

- Even Papa? | - Just a slave really.

- Not an easy life like us. | - Can you make a living in Africa?

Make a living?

You can make a fortune. | Make anything you like.

Make elephants and kings and castles.

Yes. And shoot 'em too.

- If they don't get you. | - Can I show her the gun?

Don't you dare. Leave it where it is.

It's not loaded, | and Baines keeps the safety catch on.

Leave it be, Phile.

- It's got bullets too! | - Phile -


So there you are. | Holding up the work again?

- There's still plenty to do. | - We'll get it finished.

By sitting around here all day long?

Good morning, Mr. | Baines. Till Monday.

- Ta, ta. | - No business to keep that gun in the house.

Come along, Master Phillipe. | Sit down there. Get on to that salad.

Baines is going to take me | for a walk this afternoon.

No, he isn't. | Not with all this work to do.

- There'll be time enough for both. | - Oh, please.

Work first, | and pleasure afterwards.

Easy to see you've been eating | between meals, Master Phillipe.

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Graham Greene

Henry Graham Greene (2 October 1904 – 3 April 1991), better known by his pen name Graham Greene, was an English novelist regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Combining literary acclaim with widespread popularity, Greene acquired a reputation early in his lifetime as a major writer, both of serious Catholic novels, and of thrillers (or "entertainments" as he termed them). He was shortlisted, in 1966 and 1967, for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Through 67 years of writings, which included over 25 novels, he explored the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world, often through a Catholic perspective. Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a Roman Catholic novelist, rather than as a novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes are at the root of much of his writing, especially the four major Catholic novels: Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair; which are regarded as "the gold standard" of the Catholic novel. Several works, such as The Confidential Agent, The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Human Factor, and his screenplay for The Third Man, also show Greene's avid interest in the workings and intrigues of international politics and espionage. Greene was born in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire into a large, influential family that included the owners of the Greene King Brewery. He boarded at Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire, where his father taught and became headmaster. Unhappy at the school, he attempted suicide several times. He went up to Balliol College, Oxford, to study history, where, while an undergraduate, he published his first work in 1925—a poorly received volume of poetry, Babbling April. After graduating, Greene worked first as a private tutor and then as a journalist – first on the Nottingham Journal and then as a sub-editor on The Times. He converted to Catholicism in 1926 after meeting his future wife, Vivien Dayrell-Browning. Later in life he took to calling himself a "Catholic agnostic". He published his first novel, The Man Within, in 1929; its favourable reception enabled him to work full-time as a novelist. He supplemented his novelist's income with freelance journalism, and book and film reviews. His 1937 film review of Wee Willie Winkie (for the British journal Night and Day), commented on the sexuality of the nine-year-old star, Shirley Temple. This provoked Twentieth Century Fox to sue, prompting Greene to live in Mexico until after the trial was over. While in Mexico, Greene developed the ideas for The Power and the Glory. Greene originally divided his fiction into two genres (which he described as "entertainments" and "novels"): thrillers—often with notable philosophic edges—such as The Ministry of Fear; and literary works—on which he thought his literary reputation would rest—such as The Power and the Glory. Greene had a history of depression, which had a profound effect on his writing and personal life. In a letter to his wife, Vivien, he told her that he had "a character profoundly antagonistic to ordinary domestic life," and that "unfortunately, the disease is also one's material." William Golding described Greene as "the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man's consciousness and anxiety." He died in 1991, at age 86, of leukaemia, and was buried in Corseaux cemetery. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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