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Journey into Fear Details


Orson Welles had planned to produce, direct and star in RKO's Journey Into Fear, but prior commitments compelled him to vacate the director's chair in favor of Norman Foster. Joseph Cotten, who starred as an American gunnery engineer up to his armpits in international intrigue, adapted the screenplay from the novel by Eric Ambler. Targeted for extermination by the Gestapo, Cotten secretly books passage on a steamer bound from Turkey to Batumi. His fellow passengers include dancer Dolores Del Rio and her gigolo partner Jack Durant; talkative Frenchwoman Agnes Moorehead and her browbeaten husband Frank Readick; German archaeologist Eustace Wyatt; and a secretive, obese, thick-spectacled gent, played by Orson Welles' business partner Jack Moss. From the outset, it is no secret that Moss is a Nazi assassin. The question: who are his contacts, and how long will it be before Cotten is forced into a showdown? The very complex storyline was made even more so by RKO's decision to pare the film down to 69 minutes; several resultant plot gaps had to be bridged by an ongoing offscreen narration, presented in the form of a letter written by Cotten to his worried wife Ruth Warrick. As one can see, virtually the entire roster of Welles' Mercury Theatre troupe is involved in Journey into Fear. Welles himself plays colorful Turkish police officer Colonel Haki, while Everett Sloane, Hans Conried and Edgar Barrier essay significant smaller roles. Director Norman Foster so slavishly imitates the patented Wellesian visual style (following Welles' pre-production "storyboards" dictating choice of camera angle, lighting etc.) that many historians have assumed that Welles himself directed the picture. Remade for Canadian TV in 1975. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:August 7, 1975


Joseph Cotten
as Howard Graham
Dolores Del Rio
as Josette Marlel
Ruth Warrick
as Stephanie Graham
Orson Welles
as Col. Haki
Agnes Moorehead
as Mrs. Mathews
Everett Sloane
as Kopeikin
Edgar Barrier
as Kuveill
Jack Moss
as Banat
Stefan Schnabel
as Purser
Hans Conried
as Qo Lang Sang the Magician
Richard Bennett
as Ship's Captain
Norman Foster
Bill Roberts
as Man


Norman Foster
Orson Welles
Orson Welles
Eric Ambler
Book Author
Joseph Cotten
Karl Struss
Harry Ruby
Roy Webb
Composer (Music Score)
Bert Kalmar
Constantin Bakaleinikoff
Musical Direction/Supervision
Mark Robson
Mark-Lee Kirk
Art Director
Albert S. D'Agostino
Art Director
Darrell Silvera
Set Designer
Ross Dowd
Set Designer
Edward Stevenson
Costume Designer
Vernon Walker
Special Effects
Dewey Starkey
First Assistant Director