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The Fallen Idol

Theatrical poster
Directed by Carol Reed
Produced by Carol Reed
Philip Brandon (associate producer)
Written by Graham Greene (screenplay & story)
additional dialogue:
Lesley Storm
William Templeton
Starring Ralph Richardson
Bobby Henrey
Michèle Morgan
Denis O'Dea
Music by William Alwyn
Cinematography Georges Périnal
Editing by Oswald Hafenrichter
Studio London Film Productions
Distributed by British Lion Film Corporation (UK)
Selznick Releasing Organization (USA)
Release date(s) 30 September 1948 (UK)
15 November 1949 (NYC)
1954 (USA, re-release)
Running time 95 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Fallen Idol (also known as The Lost Illusion) is a 1948 film directed by Carol Reed and based on the short story The Basement Room, by Graham Greene. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay, and won the BAFTA Award for Best British Film.



The film is told through the naive eyes of a diplomat's young son, Phillipe, who idolises his best friend, the diplomat's butler Baines. Baines has constructed a heroic persona, full of exotic adventures, that fascinates the boy. In reality, the servant is stuck in a loveless marriage, while dreaming of happiness with a younger woman (whom he describes to Phillipe as his niece). After Baines has an argument with his jealous wife, she falls from a landing to her death. Although her fall was in fact an accident, Phillipe believes that he has seen Baines deliberately murder her, and the boy's attempts to protect Baines when the police investigate almost lead to the butler's arrest.

Michèle Morgan and Ralph Richardson



  • The Great British Films, pp 125–127, Jerry Vermilye, 1978, Citadel Press, ISBN 080650661X
  • A Film Star in Belgrave Square, a book about the making of the film by Mrs. Robert Henrey, mother of Bobby Henrey.

External links

Preceded by
Odd Man Out
BAFTA Award for Best British Film
Succeeded by
The Third Man


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