Tag Archives: Mercury Theatre

“Journey Into Fear” with Orson Welles

12 Oct

This one is pretty rare and currently not available on DVD in the U.S.

I am a huge fan of Welles’ classics such as “Citizen Kane,” “Touch of Evil,” and “The Third Man.” But this one in many ways is just as appealing. Great characters and exotic shadowy locales. The ensemble cast is for the most part the same group (The Mercury Theatre) you see in other Welles’ films. Joseph Cotten, who grew up in my parents home town of Hopewell, VA, plays the lead.

Joseph Cotton, the Pride of Hopewell, Virginia

Seek this film out — I think you will enjoy it.

Journey into Fear is a spy film based on the Eric Ambler novel of the same name. The 1943 film broadly follows the plot of the book, but the protagonist was changed to an American engineer.

In addition to acting in and producing the film, Orson Welles was to direct, but had to leave that aspect to Norman Foster due to other commitments. Many of Welles’ Mercury Theatre associates were cast, including Joseph Cotten, who played the lead role and also co-wrote the screenplay.

In 2005, an alternate cut was shown at a Welles film retrospective at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland. It was the original European release print, lacking the narration and ending of the U.S. version but including about six minutes of footage deleted by RKO.