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Blind Alley (1939)

 -  Crime | Drama | Film-Noir  -  11 May 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 233 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 4 critic

Gangster Hal Wilson takes psychiatrist Dr. Shelby hostage. While captive, the doctor analyzes Wilson as though he were a patient.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Blind Alley (1939)

Blind Alley (1939) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Complete credited cast:
Hal Wilson
Dr. Anthony Shelby
Joan Perry ...
Linda Curtis
Melville Cooper ...
George Curtis
Rose Stradner ...
Doris Shelby
John Eldredge ...
Dick Holbrook (as John Eldridge)
Stanley Brown ...
Fred Landis
Scotty Beckett ...
Davy Shelby
Marie Blake ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blind Alley  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film was re-made as The Dark Past (1948). It starred Lee J. Cobb as the psychiatrist and William Holden as the killer. See more »


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 »


Version of Blind Alley (1941) See more »


Far Above Cayuga's Waters
(ca 1870) (uncredited)
(Cornell University's "Alma Mater")
Music (from the song "Annie Lisle") by H.S. Thompson (1857)
Played during the opening scene
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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