6.6/10
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Street of Chance (1942)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | 3 October 1942 (USA)
A nerd discovers he's wanted for murder, after escaping death from wreckage plummeting from a skyscraper. Passerby Frank Thompson wakes up in the street, believing it's his lucky day, then ... See full summary »

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A nerd discovers he's wanted for murder, after escaping death from wreckage plummeting from a skyscraper. Passerby Frank Thompson wakes up in the street, believing it's his lucky day, then rushes home to be told that he left his wife a year ago, with no explanation. Raven-haired Virginia is thrilled to have her sexy geek back in one piece. But as fearsome Danny Nearing, the amnesiac's the target of a city-wide manhunt. Thompson's forced onto a black path of fear, delving for the truth about his lost year, and his sudden amnesia which almost caused his bride to wear black. For the past year, as Nearing, he's carried on a torrid affair with a phantom lady, sexy blonde Ruth Dillon, who has no intention of letting him go back to the wife he claims he has. Is he the brutal killer ? The meek Thompson can't believe that, but how can he counter overwhelming evidence, when he's a small man lost behind a black curtain ? Written by David Stevens

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3 October 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der schwarze Vorhang  »

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(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

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1.37 : 1
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One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its initial television broadcasts took place in Chicago Tuesday 6 January 1959 on WBBM (Channel 2), followed by New York City Friday 30 January 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »

Connections

Version of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Black Curtain (1962) See more »

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As luck would have it…
5 April 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Street of Chance is directed by Jack Hively and adapted to screenplay by Garrett Fort from the novel "The Black Curtain" written by Cornell Woolrich. It stars Burgess Meredith, Claire Trevor, Louise Platt, Sheldon Leonard, Frieda Inescort and Jerome Cowan. Music is by David Buttolph and cinematography by Theodor Sparkuhl.

After being felled by falling wreckage from a New York building, Frank Thompson awakes in the street to find he has some sort of amnesia and his life may not be as he thought. As he starts to piece together his life he comes to realise he may have committed a murder and is actually on the run!

An early entry in the original film noir cycle, Street of Chance takes what would become a familiar film noir theme, amnesia, and seasons it with betrayal and the vagaries of fate. It's also a point of interest to note that it's the first filmic adaptation of one of noir hero Woolrich's literary works, while the visual marker set here by Sparkuhl (Among the Living) signposts the influence of German Expressionism on the noir film making style. The visuals range from low lighted cramped rooms to the various diagonal and vertical shadows that psychologically patternize the spaces inhabited by the lead characters.

The story itself is not so hot, once the narrative settles into a steady and unspectacular rhythm, as the key ladies in Frank Thompson's life come into play, there's a distinct lack of mystery or suspense. Which is a shame as the acting is of good quality even if the principals aren't asked to stretch their respective thespian skills. Still, with the visuals so strong and the satisfying Woolrich feel to proceedings (though the finale is changed here from that of the novel), it's worth seeking out by noiristas. 6.5/10


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