Skilfully adapted from Graham Greene’s novella ‘The Basement Room’, The Fallen Idol is the story of lonely eight-year-old Phillipe (Bobby Henrey), caught up in a bewildering world of grown-up deceptions. The son of the French ambassador to London, Phillipe is neglected by his parents and hero-worships the embassy butler Baines (Ralph Richardson), who tells him fabulous stories about big-game hunting in Africa.
When Phillipe stumbles upon an affair between his hero and secretary Julie (Michèle Morgan), he comes to believe that Baines has murdered his hectoring wife (Sonia Dresdel). Carol Reed orchestrates several gripping set pieces including a game of hide and seek played out against a thunderstorm and a pyjama-clad Phillipe fleeing through the rain-slicked London streets at night. One of the gems of ‘40s British cinema, *The Fallen Idol** was the first collaboration between director Reed and screenwriter Greene, who went on to make *The Third Man** together.