Trevor Howard Movies: From 'The Third Man' to 'The Passionate Friends'

Friday, Aug. 22, highlights on Turner Classic Movies (TCM): I'm not all that familiar with Trevor Howard's career as a star. I've seen about 20 of his films, but most of these were made from the mid-1960s on, when he had become a supporting player, often in big-budget international co-productions.

I've seen only three of the films listed below: Father Goose, a mild comedy starring Cary Grant and Leslie Caron; Carol Reed's The Third Man, considered by many one of the best – if not the best – film noir ever made (I'm not a fan of the film); and The Passionate Friends, which is generally considered a minor David Lean effort. Needless to say, I find the “minor” The Passionate Friends – a TCM premiere – one of the very best films Lean ever did, much superior to his more acclaimed work of the period – and certainly much more watchable than his bloated, latter-career epics.

Howard is his usual stalwart – and somewhat dull – self in this intense romantic-triangle melodrama that actually belongs to Ann Todd (Lean's wife from 1949 to 1957) and Claude Rains, both of whom render Howard all but invisible. The film was written by Eric Ambler, from Lean and Stanley Haynes' adaptation of a novel by H.G. Wells. As a plus, The Passionate Friends boasts superb black-and-white cinematography by Guy Green.

There are three other TCM premieres on Trevor Howard Day: Golden Salamander (1949), in which he co-stars with a very young Anouk Aimee; Outcast of the Islands (1951), opposite Ralph Richardson; and The Heart of the Matter (1954), in which Howard plays opposite the lovely Maria Schell.

I haven't watched Green for Danger, but some consider it one of the best British films of the 1940s. Sally Gray and the unbeatable Alastair Sim are Howard's co-stars in Sidney Gilliat's mystery thriller.

All in all, Friday is a great chance for those like myself to get better acquainted with Trevor Howard's early film work. (By the way, my favorite Trevor Howard film – David Lean's über-romantic Brief Encounter – is not in the list below.)

Schedule (Pacific Time) and synopses from the TCM website:

22 Friday

3:00 AM The Key (1958)
The key to a woman's apartment may hold bad luck for her lovers. Cast: William Holden, Trevor Howard, . Dir.: Carol Reed. Black and white. 126 mins. Letterbox Format

5:30 AM The Golden Salamander (1949)
An archaeologist gets mixed up with gun runners. Cast: Trevor Howard, Anouk Aimee, Herbert Lom. Dir.: Ronald Neame. Black and white. 96 min.

7:30 AM The Cockleshell Heroes (1955)
A British major leads a suicide mission to take out a German shipyard in occupied France. Cast: Jose Ferrer, Trevor Howard, Anthony Newley. Dir.: Jose Ferrer. Color. 98 min.

9:15 AM Operation Crossbow (1965)
Allied agents go behind enemy lines to destroy a German missile base. Cast: George Peppard, Trevor Howard. Dir.: Michael Anderson. Color. 116 mins. Letterbox Format

11:15 AM Father Goose (1964)
A WWII drifter finds himself protecting schoolgirls and their beautiful teacher. Cast: Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, Trevor Howard. Dir.: Ralph Nelson. Color. 116 mins. Letterbox Format

1:15 PM I See A Dark Stranger (1945)
An Irish woman who hates the English turns Nazi spy. Cast: Deborah Kerr, Trevor Howard, Raymond Huntley. Dir.: Frank Launder. Black and white. 112 min.

3:15 PM Green For Danger (1946)
A police inspector investigates an operating room death that may be murder. Cast: Sally Gray, Trevor Howard, Alastair Sim. Dir.: Sidney Gilliat. Black and white. 91 min.

5:00 PM Outcast of the Islands (1951)
Friends and family search for a British expatriate adrift in Malaysia. Cast: Ralph Richardson, Trevor Howard, Robert Morley. Dir.: Carol Reed. Black and white. 102 min.

7:00 PM The Third Man (1949)
A man's investigation of a friend's death uncovers corruption in post-World War II Vienna. Cast: Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Alida Valli. Dir.: Carol Reed. Black and white. 104 min.

9:00 PM The Heart of the Matter (1954)
A police commissioner falls for a war widow while his wife is away. Cast: Trevor Howard, Elizabeth Allan, Maria Schell. Dir.: George More O'Ferrall. Black and white. 105 min.

11:00 PM The Passionate Friends (1949)
A married woman has one last fling with her childhood sweetheart. Cast: Ann Todd, Claude Rains, Trevor Howard. Dir.: David Lean. Black and white. 95 min.

1:00 AM So Well Remembered (1947)
A mill-owner's ambitious daughter almost ruins her husband's political career. Cast: John Mills, Martha Scott, Trevor Howard. Dir.: Edward Dmytryk. Black and white. 115 min.

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