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The Fallen Idol, The Failed Butler

It’s always a surprise to discover another film about a butler: this one, The Fallen Idol, is a 1948 “thriller” in which the butler did it, apparently (but he didn’t), and is interesting more for the butler’s failings that are taken for granted than the slow-moving plot line.

The butler, Baines, is calm in the face of panic, to be sure, always well dressed and mannered, but

a) he is carrying on with a member of the staff while married;

b using the guest bedroom for a little dalliance with this lady while the boss is away;

c) allowing the housekeeper (his wife) to run the show;

d) allowing the employer’s young son to run away at night;

e) taking him to the zoo and not keeping an eye on him because he is busy flirting….

the list goes on, and none of it particularly remarked on as derelictions of duty, because Baines is portrayed as such an avuncular and well-meaning butler, that his failings can be overlooked.

Curioser and curioser.