Last January I wished upon a wishing well for a Criterion Bluray of Carol Reed‘s Odd Man Out, and oh, Lordy Lordy — there’s a British Bluray coming out on June 18th.

This is one of the saddest and most tragic noirs of all time. I saw it a couple of times on laser disc in the mid ’90s, and I have indelible memories of a sweating, barely conscious James Mason (as IRA combatant Johnny McQueen) and of constantly falling snow in a darkened Belfast. The exquisite photography is by Robert Krasker, who also shot Reed’s The Third Man.

The harbor finale with Mason and Kathleen Ryan leaning against the iron fence with the cops slowly approaching in the snow…wow. And Robert Newton‘s performance as the gesticulating alcoholic painter…forget about it.

Odd Man Out was Mason’s breakout film, of course, but he’d been acting since 1933 or thereabouts, when he turned 24, and was 37 — no spring chicken — when Reed’s film was shot in mid ’46.

The Wiki page notes that Roman Polanski has “repeatedly cited Odd Man Out as his favourite film,” and that he feels that Odd Man Out is superior to The Third Man, generally thought to be Reed’s masterpiece.

“I still consider it as one of the best movies I’ve ever seen and a film which made me want to pursue this career more than anything else,” Polanski has said. “I always dreamt of doing things of this sort or that style. To a certain extent I must say that I somehow perpetuate the ideas of that movie in what I do.”