Since Graham Greene wrote the stories for both “The Fallen Idol” and “The Stranger's Hand”, it might be interesting to see them both on a double bill for comparison purposes. Each involves a little boy lost (no parents in sight) who attaches himself to a guilty-looking couple who don't care half as much about him as he cares about them.
Roger Court (Richard O'Sullivan, then 11) is in Venice to meet his father (Trevor Howard). But Dad is kidnapped & drugged by bad guy Dr. Vivaldi, (Eduardo Ciannelli) who, coincidentally, also buys Roger some ice cream. Roger wanders around, waiting for Dad, and starts hanging out with Roberta (Alida Valli). Roberta's hung up on Joe Hamstringer, (Richard Basehart) who has to make a fast getaway. Roger can't find Dad, he's scared of the authorities and clings to Roberta and Joe because he doesn't know what else to do.
O'Sullivan's large eyes and expressive face made him one of Great Britain's most sought after juvenile actors and he continued his career on television as an adult. Valli and Basehart are upstaged by their little co-star here, but the film's best performances are delivered by Howard and Ciannelli. (Did either of them ever do a less than sterling job EVER?)
© 2006 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 4/19/06
The Stranger's Hand
Italy/UK - 1952