Journey into Fear


1h 11m 1942
Journey into Fear

Brief Synopsis

A munitions expert gets mixed up with gunrunners in Turkey.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Mystery
Spy
Film Noir
Release Date
Feb 12, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Journey into Fear by Eric Ambler (London, 1940).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 11m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,127ft

Synopsis

Howard Graham, an American armaments engineer working with the Turkish Navy, writes a letter to his wife Stephanie, explaining the perilous circumstances that led to their recent separation in Istanbul: While en route to the United States, the Grahams stop in Istanbul and are met by S. Kopeikin, a Turkish employee of Graham's company, who under the pretense of discussing business, takes Graham to a nightclub. There Graham meets the Eurasian dancer Josette Maretl and her partner Gogo. When a bullet meant for Graham kills the nightclub's magician instead, Colonel Haki, the head of the Turkish secret police, comes to investigate. Haki is concerned for Graham's safety because the engineer has irreplaceable knowledge about the armament needs of the Turkish Navy, and consequently, his demise would mean a delay in arming the Navy. After showing Graham a photograph of Peter Banat, an assassin hired to kill him by the Nazi agent Muller, Haki tells Graham that he has arranged safe passage for him aboard a tramp steamer bound for Batumi. When Graham protests being separated from Stephanie, Haki assures him that he will accompany her to Batumi. At dockside, Kopeikin bids Graham farewell and presents him with a pistol, which Graham then hides under his mattress. On board the ship, Graham meets his fellow passengers: Josette and Gogo; Kuvetli, a Turkish tobacco salesman; Professor Haller, an archeologist; and Madame Mathews and her socialist husband. Lonely and frightened, Graham is befriended by Josette. When the ship makes its first stop, Graham cables Stephanie to meet him in Batumi on Saturday. After the ship leaves the port, Graham is alerted to the arrival of a new passenger by the musical strains of a record player, and Haller warns him that Kuvetli is not who he claims to be. At dinner that night, the new passenger joins Graham at his table, and the engineer recognizes him as Peter Banat. Panicked, Graham tells the ship's captain that there is an assassin on board, but the captain thinks that he is demented and laughs in his face. Upon discovering that his gun is missing, Graham turns to Josette for help. After listening to Graham's story, Josette offers to have Gogo detain Banat in a card game while Graham searches his cabin. When Graham returns to his own cabin, he is met by Haller, who identifies himself as Muller. Haller offers to spare Graham's life if the engineer will delay his return to the States for six weeks. Explaining that the Germans seek only a postponement in the communication of Graham's recommendations for arming the Turkish Navy, Haller suggests that he check into a hospital with a case of "typhoid." Before departing, Haller informs Graham that Kuvetli is a Turkish agent sent by Haki. After Haller leaves, Kuvetli contacts Graham and instructs him to consent to Haller's plan. Kuvetli also tells Graham that when the ship docks in Batumi, he should hide while the Turkish agent arranges for the arrest of Haller and Banat. Graham follows Kuvetli's instructions and agrees to Haller's terms, but when he goes to contact the Turk, he discovers the agent has been murdered and hears the familiar strains of a musical recording. Desperate, Graham asks Mathews to deliver a message to the Turkish counsel. Mathews agrees and offers Graham a pocket knife and an umbrella for protection. When the boat docks, Banat and Haller escort Graham ashore and into a waiting car. As they are driving, one of the car's tires goes flat, and when the driver leaves his seat to examine the tire, Graham sticks the pocket knife into the horn, causing it to sound. During the ensuing commotion, Graham jumps into the driver's seat, crashes the car into a store window and escapes his captors. Then as a storm rages that night, Graham runs into a hotel and joins his wife in her room, but finds Haller and Banat waiting for him. Thinking that Haller is a representative from her husband's company, Stephanie leaves them to discuss business while she joins Haki for a drink in the hotel bar. Soon after, Gogo, who has been trying to make a deal with Graham for Josette's "services," knocks on his hotel room door. When Gogo opens the door, Banat shoots at him, sending him scurrying to the lobby for help. Graham uses the diversion to jump out the window onto the cornice of the building, where he is followed by Haller and Banat. At that moment, Haki appears on the ledge and shoots Haller. Banat then wounds Haki and turns his gun on Graham. Blinded by the rain, Banat misses his target, and after emptying his pistol, the two men struggle and Banat falls from the ledge to his death. Safe in the hotel, Graham finishes writing the letter to his wife that he began on board the ship, and when Haki tells him that Stephanie is waiting for him upstairs, Graham tears up the now completed letter and joins her.

Photo Collections

Journey into Fear - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Journey into Fear (1942). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Journey into Fear - Publicity Stills
Here are some Publicity Stills from Journey into Fear (1943). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

Journey Into Fear (1943) - Dearest Stephanie Star Joseph Cotten narrates from a letter to his wife (Ruth Warrick) from the screenplay he co-wrote with co-star Orson Welles from an Eric Ambler novel, meeting local arms rep Kopeikin (Everett Sloane) in WWII Istanbul, and singer Josette (Dolores del Rio), in Journey Into Fear, 1943.
Journey Into Fear (1943) - A Crazy Man Just Shot At Me From the climax on the ledge of a Black Sea hotel, Graham (Joseph Cotten) chased by an assassin and spy (Jack Moss, Eustace Wyatt), his wife (Ruth Warrick) downstairs, Turkish officer Haki (Orson Welles, in a scene he never quite took credit for directing) rescuing, in Journey Into Fear, 1943.
Journey Into Fear (1943) - I Like The Turks Hustled onto a steamer out of Istanbul by officials who insist he’s in danger, American engineer Graham (Joseph Cotten), narrating from a letter to his wife, with acquaintances on board, singer Josette (Dolores del Rio), Kuvetli (Edgar Barrier) and Haller (Eustace Wyatt), in Journey Into Fear, 1943.
Journey Into Fear (1943) - C'est Mon Couer Opening features Banat (Jack Moss), whom we will learn is a freelance assassin in WWII Istanbul, and an an unattributed recording of an old French song, in Journey Into Fear, 1943, screenplay by star Joseph Cotten and supporting player Orson Welles, from an Eric Ambler novel.
Journey Into Fear (1943) - He Is A Great Patriot After what he’s sure was a misdirected assassination attempt in an Istanbul night club, American engineer Graham (Joseph Cotten) is conducted by Kopelkin (Everett Sloane) to security chief Haki (Orson Welles, with whom Cotten wrote the screenplay), in Journey Into Fear, 1943.

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Mystery
Spy
Film Noir
Release Date
Feb 12, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Journey into Fear by Eric Ambler (London, 1940).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 11m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,127ft

Articles

Journey Into Fear (1942) - Journey into Fear (1942)


Orson Welles may have been responsible for expanding the language of cinema, but, aside from Citizen Kane (1941), few casual movie fans can name any of the films he directed. Then again, even for the well-informed, Welles' career is an unwieldy beast that offers up only a handful of solid truths. For instance, there are sequences in his compromised masterpiece, The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), that were shot and inserted by RKO when he was out of the country planning another film. And Journey Into Fear (1942), which is frequently cited in discussions of Welles' directorial output, was actually directed solely by Norman Foster, if the film's credits, and Welles' later assertions, are to be believed.

They almost certainly aren't, though. Anyone who's familiar with Welles' expressionistic shooting style will see his fingerprints all over Journey Into Fear. Joseph Cotten (who co-wrote the script with Welles) plays an American Naval engineer who's returning to the U.S. from Istanbul via train. But when someone tries to kill him, he's steered to a freighter by the head of the Turkish secret police (played by Welles). Cotten, nevertheless, winds up embroiled with a group of Nazis on the ship, and everyone slips in and out of the shadows while he attempts to make an escape.

Welles, to put it kindly, had a propensity toward re-inventing his own past, so that might explain his insistence that he was mostly a producer and screenwriter on Journey Into Fear. But one memorable sequence, which takes place on a building ledge in a rainstorm, is almost certainly his handiwork. Welles argued this away, however, by saying that the actors and crew were all standing on a cramped, dangerously high ledge, so the scene was directed by "whoever was nearest the camera."

Part of Welles' story, anyway, seems to have been completely true - the ledge really was high off the ground. At one point, an unlucky crew member fell and broke both his legs. Tellingly, Welles later noted that the man had died, even though he hadn't.

Regardless of his degree of input ­or how hard he tried to create a new reality surrounding the picture - Welles always made it clear that he was unhappy with Journey Into Fear. He said that he and Cotten had a completely different movie in mind when they wrote the screenplay.

"That picture was also ruined by the cutting," he later told director/film historian Peter Bogdanovich. "It was horrible what they did with it, because it was quite a good script that we did- it should have been a very decent picture. Good cast and everything." He maintained that he and Cotten had devised "the opposite of an action picture," but the studio, "took out everything that made it interesting except the action." He ruefully noted that you can even see a character looking through a ship porthole two reels after he's supposedly died!

Connoisseurs of hambone acting will also want to tune into Journey Into Fear for Welles' bizarre supporting performance, which is so over the top, many critics at the time thought it was some kind of ill-defined parody. "That's what people keep saying about my acting in other people's pictures," he told Bogdanovich. "They think I'm this clever cynic that jokes about what I'm doing. Not at all. Now, that character was supposed to be a cynical sort, and that's the way I played it- but I think I missed."

Even when a genius misses, however, there's still something fascinating about the attempt. Journey Into Fear may be a misfire, but it's quite unlike anything else that was released in 1942. And we have Orson Welles to thank for that...even if he was loathe to admit it.

Producer: Jack Moss, George Schaefer, Orson Welles
Director: Norman Foster, Orson Welles
Screenplay: Joseph Cotten, Eric Ambler (novel)
Cinematography: Karl Struss
Film Editing: Mark Robson
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino, Mark-Lee Kirk
Music: Roy Webb
Cast: Joseph Cotten (Howard Graham), Dolores del Rio (Josette Martel), Ruth Warrick (Mrs. Stephanie Graham), Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Mathews), Jack Durant (Gogo Martel), Everett Sloane (S. Kopeikin).
BW-68m. Closed captioning.

by Paul Tatara
Journey Into Fear (1942) - Journey Into Fear (1942)

Journey Into Fear (1942) - Journey into Fear (1942)

Orson Welles may have been responsible for expanding the language of cinema, but, aside from Citizen Kane (1941), few casual movie fans can name any of the films he directed. Then again, even for the well-informed, Welles' career is an unwieldy beast that offers up only a handful of solid truths. For instance, there are sequences in his compromised masterpiece, The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), that were shot and inserted by RKO when he was out of the country planning another film. And Journey Into Fear (1942), which is frequently cited in discussions of Welles' directorial output, was actually directed solely by Norman Foster, if the film's credits, and Welles' later assertions, are to be believed. They almost certainly aren't, though. Anyone who's familiar with Welles' expressionistic shooting style will see his fingerprints all over Journey Into Fear. Joseph Cotten (who co-wrote the script with Welles) plays an American Naval engineer who's returning to the U.S. from Istanbul via train. But when someone tries to kill him, he's steered to a freighter by the head of the Turkish secret police (played by Welles). Cotten, nevertheless, winds up embroiled with a group of Nazis on the ship, and everyone slips in and out of the shadows while he attempts to make an escape. Welles, to put it kindly, had a propensity toward re-inventing his own past, so that might explain his insistence that he was mostly a producer and screenwriter on Journey Into Fear. But one memorable sequence, which takes place on a building ledge in a rainstorm, is almost certainly his handiwork. Welles argued this away, however, by saying that the actors and crew were all standing on a cramped, dangerously high ledge, so the scene was directed by "whoever was nearest the camera." Part of Welles' story, anyway, seems to have been completely true - the ledge really was high off the ground. At one point, an unlucky crew member fell and broke both his legs. Tellingly, Welles later noted that the man had died, even though he hadn't. Regardless of his degree of input ­or how hard he tried to create a new reality surrounding the picture - Welles always made it clear that he was unhappy with Journey Into Fear. He said that he and Cotten had a completely different movie in mind when they wrote the screenplay. "That picture was also ruined by the cutting," he later told director/film historian Peter Bogdanovich. "It was horrible what they did with it, because it was quite a good script that we did- it should have been a very decent picture. Good cast and everything." He maintained that he and Cotten had devised "the opposite of an action picture," but the studio, "took out everything that made it interesting except the action." He ruefully noted that you can even see a character looking through a ship porthole two reels after he's supposedly died! Connoisseurs of hambone acting will also want to tune into Journey Into Fear for Welles' bizarre supporting performance, which is so over the top, many critics at the time thought it was some kind of ill-defined parody. "That's what people keep saying about my acting in other people's pictures," he told Bogdanovich. "They think I'm this clever cynic that jokes about what I'm doing. Not at all. Now, that character was supposed to be a cynical sort, and that's the way I played it- but I think I missed." Even when a genius misses, however, there's still something fascinating about the attempt. Journey Into Fear may be a misfire, but it's quite unlike anything else that was released in 1942. And we have Orson Welles to thank for that...even if he was loathe to admit it. Producer: Jack Moss, George Schaefer, Orson Welles Director: Norman Foster, Orson Welles Screenplay: Joseph Cotten, Eric Ambler (novel) Cinematography: Karl Struss Film Editing: Mark Robson Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino, Mark-Lee Kirk Music: Roy Webb Cast: Joseph Cotten (Howard Graham), Dolores del Rio (Josette Martel), Ruth Warrick (Mrs. Stephanie Graham), Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Mathews), Jack Durant (Gogo Martel), Everett Sloane (S. Kopeikin). BW-68m. Closed captioning. by Paul Tatara

Ruth Warrick (1915-2005) - Ruth Warrick, (1915-2005)


Ruth Warrick, the actress who will forever be identified as the first Mrs. Kane in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941) to film buffs; and Phoebe Wallingford, the meddlesome nosybody on the long-running soap opera All My Children, to modern television audiences, died at her Manhattan home on January 15 of complications from Pneumonia. She was 89.

She was born on June 29, 1915 in St. Joseph, Missouri. After attaining a degree in theatre from the University of Kansas City, she left for New York, where in 1938, she joined the Mercury Theater troupe, headed by a young artist on the rise by the name of Orson Welles. When Welles prepared to film Citizen Kane (1941) he took several players from his Mercury Theater (Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloan, Agnes Moorehead) and of course, Ruth Warrick. She made her film debut in Welles' cinematic epic as Emily Norton Kane. Indeed, to many film buffs, Warrick's icy charms are indispensable to the celebrated montage sequence opposite Welles at the breakfast table; particularly when he broaches the subject of her husband's infidelity:

Emily Kane: Charles, people will think...
Charles Kane: What I tell them to think!

Warrick received fine reviews for her performance, and she had good roles in her next two films The Corsican Brothers (1941), with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Journey Into Fear (1942), opposite Joseph Cotton. Sadly, Hollywood, not knowing what to do with a well-trained, mature actress like Warrick, began to cast her into routine, forgettable fare: Mr. Winkle Goes to War (1944), China Sky (1945), and Swell Guy (1946). Disney's Song of the South (1947), was a box-office hit, and was her best film in a while, but overall, the material she received over the next few years, simply wasn't worthy of her talents.

Things turned around for her in the mid-50s, when Warrick discovered the medium of television. She had regular roles on The Guiding Light (1953-54), As the World Turns (1956-60), Father of the Bride (1960-61), and was unforgettable as the sinister housekeeper, Hannah Cord, in Peyton Place (1965-67). Yet it was her 35-year run in the role of Phoebe Wallingford in All My Children (1970-2005), that Warrick achieved her greatest triumph. As the rich, intrusive matriarch of the fictitious, affluent town known as Pine Valley, Warrick found a role that could be at once gloriously hammy and quietly conniving - qualities that highlighted her renown versatility as an actress. To honor her contribution to television, Warrick received a lifetime achievement award from the Daytime Emmys last December. She is survived by three children, a grandson, and six great-grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Ruth Warrick (1915-2005) - Ruth Warrick, (1915-2005)

Ruth Warrick, the actress who will forever be identified as the first Mrs. Kane in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941) to film buffs; and Phoebe Wallingford, the meddlesome nosybody on the long-running soap opera All My Children, to modern television audiences, died at her Manhattan home on January 15 of complications from Pneumonia. She was 89. She was born on June 29, 1915 in St. Joseph, Missouri. After attaining a degree in theatre from the University of Kansas City, she left for New York, where in 1938, she joined the Mercury Theater troupe, headed by a young artist on the rise by the name of Orson Welles. When Welles prepared to film Citizen Kane (1941) he took several players from his Mercury Theater (Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloan, Agnes Moorehead) and of course, Ruth Warrick. She made her film debut in Welles' cinematic epic as Emily Norton Kane. Indeed, to many film buffs, Warrick's icy charms are indispensable to the celebrated montage sequence opposite Welles at the breakfast table; particularly when he broaches the subject of her husband's infidelity: Emily Kane: Charles, people will think... Charles Kane: What I tell them to think! Warrick received fine reviews for her performance, and she had good roles in her next two films The Corsican Brothers (1941), with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Journey Into Fear (1942), opposite Joseph Cotton. Sadly, Hollywood, not knowing what to do with a well-trained, mature actress like Warrick, began to cast her into routine, forgettable fare: Mr. Winkle Goes to War (1944), China Sky (1945), and Swell Guy (1946). Disney's Song of the South (1947), was a box-office hit, and was her best film in a while, but overall, the material she received over the next few years, simply wasn't worthy of her talents. Things turned around for her in the mid-50s, when Warrick discovered the medium of television. She had regular roles on The Guiding Light (1953-54), As the World Turns (1956-60), Father of the Bride (1960-61), and was unforgettable as the sinister housekeeper, Hannah Cord, in Peyton Place (1965-67). Yet it was her 35-year run in the role of Phoebe Wallingford in All My Children (1970-2005), that Warrick achieved her greatest triumph. As the rich, intrusive matriarch of the fictitious, affluent town known as Pine Valley, Warrick found a role that could be at once gloriously hammy and quietly conniving - qualities that highlighted her renown versatility as an actress. To honor her contribution to television, Warrick received a lifetime achievement award from the Daytime Emmys last December. She is survived by three children, a grandson, and six great-grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Before the opening credits or film title appear, a fat man, later identified as the assassin, "Peter Banat," places a silencer on his gun as a broken phonograph record playing "C'est mon couer" is heard on the soundtrack. According to pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter, RKO paid $10,000 in frozen British funds for the rights to English author Eric Ambler's novel. An April 1941 news item notes that Ben Hecht was slated to script the film and David Hempstead to produce. A February 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item adds that Michele Morgan was to star and Robert Stevenson to direct. Hempstead originally wanted Fred Astaire to play the lead, but later considered Robert Montgomery and Fred MacMurray. By early July 1941, according to a Hollywood Reporter news item, studio chief George J. Schaefer was trying to convince Orson Welles to act in and direct the film, but Welles was wavering between working on this film and Louisiana Hayride, a story about Huey Long, which was never made. By mid-July 1941, Hollywood Reporter news items identified Journey into Fear as an Orson Welles project, with Welles slated to produce and direct under his Mercury Productions banner. Ellis St. Joseph and Richard Collins were to write the script for the film, which now was to star Joseph Cotten, who, according to Hollywood Reporter, was being groomed for stardom after his appearance in Citizen Kane . The picture was to fulfill part of Welles's four-picture commitment to RKO. A September 1941 tentative shooting schedule contained in the RKO Archive Script Files at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library lists Welles as director, but by the time the production began in January 1942, Norman Foster was credited as director. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, by late January 1942, Welles's part in the film had been condensed to three to four days of intensive filming so that he could leave for Brazil on 5 February to begin production on It's All True. While rushing to finish this film, Welles was also completing The Magnificent Ambersons . In a modern interview, Welles stated that because he was in a hurry to leave for South America, the ledge sequence at the end of the film was directed by whomever was closest to the camera. Welles said, "For the first five sequences, I was on the set and decided the angles; from then on, I often said where to put the camera and described the framing, made light tests....I designed the film but can't properly be called the director." A news item in Hollywood Reporter adds that Welles also worked on the script with Joseph Cotten, but Welles is not credited onscreen for his contribution.
       On March 6, 1942, six days before production was completed, a Hollywood Reporter news item reported that the raw footage was to be flown to Rio de Janiero for Welles to edit. According to another Hollywood Reporter item, the film was in the final dubbing and editing stage by May 1942, under the supervision of Jack Moss, Welles's Mercury Productions partner. Moss also played the role of "Banat" in the film. By June 1942, however, George J. Schaefer, the studio head who brought Welles to Hollywood, had been ousted and replaced by Charles Koerner, a pragmatic theater manager who, according to the New York Times, stressed "showmanship rather than genius." By the end of June 1942, the Koerner regime notified Welles that his contract with the studio had been terminated and he was to return from Brazil. In early July 1942, a news item in Hollywood Reporter reported that the studio had confiscated Journey into Fear, which was now being edited "without the benefit of those who worked on the picture." In late Aug, according to another Hollywood Reporter news item, the studio decided to delay the release of the picture after the critics panned it at a tradeshow. A New York Times article adds that as part of his final settlement with the studio, Welles agreed to recut the last reel and film some additional scenes. Materials contained in the Script Files reveal that Welles added Cotten's voice-over scenes at the beginning and end of the picture and devised the pre-credit sequence.
       According to an article in New York Times and an unidentified contemporary source in the AMPAS production files, several of the actors in the film were employees of Mercury Productions. Robert Meltzer, who played the ship's captain, was a writer at Mercury. Shifra Haran, who played "Mrs. Haller," was Welles's personal secretary. Herb Drake and Bill Roberts, who played the ship's stewards, worked in Mercury's publicity department, and Welles's chauffeur, Eddie Howard, appeared in a bit role. Modern sources credit George J. Schaefer as the film's executive producer. In 1976, a Canadian production company produced another version of Ambler's novel, directed by Daniel Mann and starring Sam Waterston, Zero Mostel and Yvette Mimieux. According to an article in Los Angeles Times, in 1966, Ambler was working on a television series based on his book to be produced by Joan Harrison and starring Jeff Hunter. That series was never made.