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

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Mary
...
Linda Curtis
...
George Curtis
...
Doris Shelby
John Eldredge ...
Dick Holbrook (as John Eldridge)
...
Agnes
...
Buck
Stanley Brown ...
Fred Landis
...
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:

Piercing the Unholy Mysteries of a Killer's Gun-Crazed Mind! See more »

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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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

Waltz Op. 64 No. 2 in C sharp minor
(1846-47) (uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Played on the piano by Rose Stradner
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Killer Personality
10 August 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

When I wrote a review of the remake of Blind Alley that starred William Holden I had not yet seen this nor had investigated the Broadway play from where this film came from. I've come to some interesting conclusions as a result.

Chester Morris plays the killer role in Blind Alley which is a combination of The Petrified Forest and The Desperate Hours and the viewer will recognize parts of both those classics. Morris and his gang are on the run having just busted out of prison where they took the warden hostage and Morris kills him. He then takes refuge at the lakeside home of Ralph Bellamy and wife Rose Stradner who happen to be entertaining guests at the time.

Bellamy is a psychiatrist who teaches and after Morris coldbloodedly murders Stanley Brown one of his students he thinks the only way to save his and everyone else's lives is to get into his head. Bellamy is a cool customer doing this, especially with friends and family's lives at stake.

When Lee J. Cobb played the part of the psychiatrist in The Dark Past he was detached almost clinical in the way he probed at Holden. Bellamy is not looking at this as an experiment and now having seen both films I can say Bellamy's interpretation was superior.

Blind Alley originated as a play on Broadway by James Warwick with a 119 performance run in the 1935-36 season. Looking at that cast I saw that George Coulouris played the psychiatrist and this is one instance where we are so unfortunate that he did not do either movie version. Coulouris would really have been special in the part.

This film is a real sleeper from Columbia Pictures, don't miss it if ever broadcast again.


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