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(Review originally written at 8 April 2007)

The movie is made in the same trend as "Citizen Kane" and the movie and its story and storytelling were obviously inspired by the success and greatness of the movie. This movie its main character is also featured (almost) entirely just in flashback, when an intrigued detective-story writer (Peter Lorre) ventures himself into a search of who the notorious criminal Dimitrios Makropolous (Zachary Scott in his first movie role) 'was', by interviewing people he met and had business with.

It's a perfect treatment for the main character, who takes mysterious and grand proportions as a cold-hearted ruthless criminal, who isn't afraid to kill and use people to complete his assignment. He is a great early movie villain, who is unpredictable, slick, smart and therefor an interesting person to follow. Though it's debatable whether it aren't Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet who are the real main characters of the movie. Their search and the story of Dimitrios Makropoulos are two separate stories in the movie, who yet feel as one. It therefor is perhaps most fair to say that the 3 of them are the main characters of the movie.

Zachary Scott plays he role effectively, though his performance will probably by todays standards be considered as formulaic and perhaps stiff. Peter Lorre is totally great in his role and he again is acting a lot with his body and especially his eyes. He plays a real great character, who is far from a hero or brave, which at the same time makes him very humane and therefor understandable and easy to relate with. Sydney Greenstreet is also totally great in his role. Greenstreet didn't played in an awful lot of movies during his career but when he did, his roles were always something special. He also appeared in many other classic movies from the '40's such as "The Maltese Falcon", "They Died with Their Boots On", "Casablanca", "Christmas in Connecticut" and the list goes on. Also fun to see how he almost always played the same sort of character. But why shouldn't he, he was absolute great at it, in basically every movie he appeared in.

The movie its style can be described as film-noir, set in a mysterious and more entertaining-light environment. The movie is not as heavy and serious as some of its other genre movies, which is perhaps also a reason why this movie isn't as well known as some of its fellow genre movies from the same time period. The atmosphere, camera-work and settings work moody for the movie, which provides this movie with a typical and unbeatable '40's flavor.

A movie really worth seeing, with a great memorable and suiting finale.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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