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Tuesday May 28th 2024

The Fallen Idol | 1948

The Fallen Idol location: Belgrave Square, Belgravia, London SW1
The Fallen Idol location: the ‘embassy’: northeast corner of Belgrave Square, Belgravia, London SW1

Carol Reed (The Third Man, Oliver!) films Graham Greene’s short story The Basement Room, on real locations around London.

The ‘Embassy’, in which butler Baines (Ralph Richardson) comes close to being falsely arrested for murder is the headquarters of the St John’s Ambulance organisation at the northeast corner of Belgrave Square, on Wilton and Grosvenor Crescents (tube: Hyde Park Corner; Piccadilly Line).

The maze of narrow mews streets where Baines clandestinely meets with Julie (Michele Morgan), and where young Phillipe (Bobby Henrey) gets lost, have moved seriously upmarket from the pub’n’cafe atmosphere of the movie. They are Belgrave Mews and Kinnerton Street, just to the north of Belgrave Square.

The day out was filmed at London Zoo, in Regent's Park, London NW1, at the old refreshment stand in front of the Mappin Terraces. The Zoo can be seen in About A Boy, An American Werewolf in London, The Jokers, Arabesque, Turtle Diary and – of course – its Reptile House is featured in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Its entrance also stands in for the world-famous tennis venue in rom-com Wimbledon.