The Heart Of The Matter

  • 1953
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Howard is the very religious police commissioner in Sierra Leone circa 1942. He and Allan have a marriage in name only, and when she goes off on vacation, he falls for refugee Schell, a survivor of a boat which had been torpedoed by a Nazi sub. The resultant guilt that Howard suffers becomes the heart of the matter. It's essentially a quadrangle among Howard,...read more

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Howard is the very religious police commissioner in Sierra Leone circa 1942. He and Allan have a marriage in name only, and when she goes off on vacation, he falls for refugee Schell, a survivor of a boat which had been torpedoed by a Nazi sub. The resultant guilt that Howard suffers

becomes the heart of the matter. It's essentially a quadrangle among Howard, Allan, Schell, and religion. Howard cannot conceive of divorce and remarriage and the only alternative is suicide, an even greater sin in the eyes of the church (embodied nicely by Finch as the local priest). The

emotional travails experienced by Howard finally lead him to deliberately court danger by venturing alone into a bad neighborhood, where he is murdered and his body is tossed into a sluiceway. A lot of sophisticated talk provides the film's highlights, but the movie never grips the viewer in the

way that the Greene novel on which it is based does.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Howard is the very religious police commissioner in Sierra Leone circa 1942. He and Allan have a marriage in name only, and when she goes off on vacation, he falls for refugee Schell, a survivor of a boat which had been torpedoed by a Nazi sub. The resulta… (more)

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