6.4/10
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12 user 4 critic

Blind Alley (1939)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 11 May 1939 (USA)
Gangster Hal Wilson takes psychiatrist Dr. Shelby hostage. While captive, the doctor analyzes Wilson as though he were a patient.

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Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Mary
Joan Perry ...
Linda Curtis
Melville Cooper ...
George Curtis
Rose Stradner ...
Doris Shelby
John Eldredge ...
Dick Holbrook (as John Eldridge)
...
Agnes
...
Buck
Stanley Brown ...
Fred Landis
Scotty Beckett ...
Davy
...
Nick
...
Harriet
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Storyline

Following a prison break, Hal Wilson, a ruthless killer takes refuge in the home of a psychiatrist, Dr. Shelby. While Wilson is attempting to make a safe getaway, Dr. Shelby is busily trying to analyze his captor and find out just what, in his dark past, made him the man he now has become. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

STAND IN HIS WAY..AND DIE! (original 3-sheet poster-all caps)

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Afsporet  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Warwick's play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 24 September 1935 and closed in January 1936 after 119 performances. The opening night cast included George Coulouris as Dr. Shelby and Roy Hargrave as Hal Wilson. Also in the cast were Jay Adler, Lloyd Barry, Ruth Fallows, Mabel Montgomery, James Truex and Katherine Warren. See more »

Goofs

The gangster's fingers are supposedly paralyzed, but when he pushes the "Insanity and the Criminal Mind" book back onto the shelf, you can clearly see him flick it into place with one of his "paralyzed" fingers. See more »

Connections

Version of Blind Alley (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 in E flat major
(1830-31) (uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Played on the piano by Rose Stradner
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ralph Bellamy is pipe-smoking psychiatrist confronting mad killer...
26 March 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

This B-film from the late thirties can probably be considered way ahead of its time, dealing as it does with a psychiatric solution for the climax of the story. Hollywood would go much further with such themes in the '40s with the advent of films like "Spellbound", "Possessed" and "The Snake Pit".

RALPH BELLAMY is a pipe-smoking psychiatrist with a calm, cool demeanor who appears undisturbed when a psychotic serial killer (CHESTER MORRIS) and his gang intrudes on family and friends during a quiet holiday weekend. When Morris turns out to have bad dreams, psychiatrist Bellamy goes to work tracing the events that trigger the nightmares. Director Charles Vidor uses reverse negative images imaginatively to depict the dream sequence which movie buffs can immediately solve without any explanations from Bellamy.

ANN DVORAK is the gun moll acting tough with the house guests and confining the servants to the cellar, and MARC LAWRENCE is effective as one of the tough guys. MELVILLE COOPER has a role in which he's unusually heroic a year after playing the cowardly sheriff in "The Adventures of Robin Hood". SCOTTY BECKETT is a lively presence as the little boy who talks back to the bad men.

But the pat solution is too simplistic and the fact that Morris is willing to even listen to Bellamy's sermonizing and psychiatric talk makes the whole thing quite unrealistic. The remake with William Holden had the same problem and the same glaring faults. Another distraction is CHESTER MORRIS who seems to be chewing the scenery in his over-the-top impersonation of the psychotic killer.


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