Irish Film Institute -ENGLAND MADE ME



100 minutes| U.K.-Yugoslavia| 1973| Colour| 35mm

Greene had a soft spot for his 1935 novel and admired this film, which shifts the setting from Sweden to Nazi Germany. The change, whilst retaining the novel’s theme of the growing menace in Europe, gives it an added dimension. Michael York (excellent) as the soft amoral Englishman, out of his depth when trying either to comply with or combat the cruelties he encounters, becomes an ingenious Thirties’ symbol of ineffectual appeasement. Hildegard Neil gives her finest screen performance as York’s sister, professionally and romantically involved with a devious financier (Peter Finch, superb) who, unlike York, knows how to survive in treacherous times. Peter Duffell’s direction is adept at visualising a sense of characters in a physical and moral wasteland; and adding spice to the characterisation is Michael Hordern’s journalist, a definitive rendering of a Greene archetype – the pathetic Anglo-Catholic going to seed in a foreign land. ‘Pleased enough’ was Greene’s verdict on the film; from him, that is a rave review.

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