The List of Adrian Messenger
The List of Adrian Messenger
Messenger asks a friend to check into a list of names before leaving on a trip. When his plane is blown out of the sky, the matter becomes more serious. As his friend checks into the list, each seems to have died in mysterious circumstances. As he goes down the list, the deaths become more recent and a race to find the remaining survivors and what put each of them on this list ensues.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Downloaded 16,564 times
July 25, 2018 at 08:08 PM
as George Brougham / Vicar Atlee / Mr. Pythian / Arthur Henderson
Intriguing mystery from John Huston with celebrity cameo roles
Another first rate thriller from John Huston but this time with a subtle difference. Kirk Douglas and George C. Scott are the leading actors but other stars were brought in to play small cameo roles hidden under heavy disguises! Among them are Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra and Burt Lancaster. Part of the mystery (and enjoyment of the film) was to guess where and when these stars appeared. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that a trick was played on the unsuspecting audience and that other (unknown) actors stood in for both Frank Sinatra and Burt Lancaster during the actual film and that these two stars only put in an appearance at the very end of the film when disguises were taken off to reveal who was who! Even so, this still remains a film worth seeing as the clever story holds your attention throughout. The film had a good supporting cast including Dana Wynter, Clive Brook and Herbert Marshall. Kirk Douglas wore the most disguises during the film and seemed to be having a good time in his various roles. "The List of Adrian Messenger" could best be described as an old fashioned mystery thriller and is none the less enjoyable for that. It is well directed by John Huston who also managed to fit in a guest appearance in the climatic hunting scene. 8/10. Clive Roberts.
Because of that gimmick with Curtis, Mitchum, Sinatra and Lancaster people seem to regard this film as a sort of spot-the-star contest. But it is much more than that. Excellent acting (especially Douglas in what must be his best role since Paths of Glory), superb music (Jerry Goldsmith) and brilliant direction of John Huston more than make up for occasional lapses in the story.
The story is quite simple, but the less said the better. The 'list' in question is a list of 10 names of people from all over the UK, who seem to have nothing in common except...well just see the movie.
And spotting the stars is quite fun too.
Read more IMDb reviews
Mystery thriller with a gimmick.
A good, old-fashioned mystery thriller, The List of Adrian Messenger offers a rare chance to see director John Huston serving up an atypically light-hearted style of film. Huston is usually the champion of dark and difficult stories in which flawed characters undergo moral and religious crises. But The List of Adrian Messenger is more of a playful suspense story - similar to the kind of thing Hitchcock might have made at that time - and it comes across as a likable and occasionally exciting film.
Retired British Intelligence agent Anthony Gethryn (miscast George C. Scott, struggling with his inconsistent English accent) investigates the murder of Adrian Messenger, killed in the bombing of a plane. Shortly before his death, Adrian predicted that an attempt might be made on his life, and Gethryn is understandably intrigued when Adrian's prediction is proved true. Aided by a survivor from the plane blast, Raoul LeBorg (Jacques Roux), Gethryn links the killing to a list he was given just before Adrian's demise. It becomes apparent that the murders are the work of George Brougham (Kirk Douglas), a wartime informer and a long-lost brother to a British aristocrat, who is deviously murdering his way to a fabulous inheritance. Gethryn realises that Brougham is only two killings away from claiming his prize, and sets about ensnaring the villain before his sinister scheme is complete.
The gimmick in the film is that four major stars have brief guest roles beneath heavy make-up. Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra and Burt Lancaster are the stars - they're quite hard to spot (Mitchum is probably the easiest, but the others are very well disguised). It's an interesting gimmick, though I agree with other reviewers who have pointed out that in some ways it diverts the viewer's attention away from important plot developments. If you forget the gimmick and watch The List of Adrian Messenger purely as a suspense thriller, it holds up pretty well, with clever twists and turns and a very memorable final sequence in which Brougham plans an elaborate killing during a fox hunt. There are better and worse films of this type out there, but this one will do nicely just the same.