75 user 54 critic

This Gun for Hire (1942)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 19 June 1942 (USA)
When assassin Philip Raven shoots a blackmailer and his beautiful female companion dead, he is paid off in marked bills by his treasonous employer who is working with foreign spies.



(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alvin Brewster
Blair Fletcher (as Olin Howlin)
Roger Imhof ...
Victor Kilian ...
Steve Finnerty
Police Captain
Mikhail Rasumny ...


Hit man Philip Raven, who's kind to children and cats, kills a blackmailer and is paid off by traitor Willard Gates in "hot" money. Meanwhile, pert entertainer Ellen Graham, girlfriend of police Lieut. Crane (who's after Raven) is enlisted by a Senate committee to help investigate Gates. Raven, seeking Gates for revenge, meets Ellen on the train; their relationship gradually evolves from that of killer and potential victim to an uneasy alliance against a common enemy. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Lover without a heart...killer without a conscience! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 June 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Narbenhand  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$12,000,000, 31 December 1942
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on January 25, 1943 with Laird Cregar reprising his film role. See more »


When Michael Crane leaves Willard Gates' residence (at around 45 mins) only about a second, an impossibly short period of time, elapses between his stepping outside the house and the sound of his car driving away. See more »


Ruby: What's the matter? You look like you've been on a hayride with Dracula.
See more »


Featured in Dangerous Edge: A Life of Graham Greene (2013) See more »


I've Got You
(1942) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Music by Jacques Press
Performed by Veronica Lake (dubbed by Martha Mears)
See more »

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User Reviews

solid film-noir in all areas
12 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

one of the things that can make a film noir great is the ability to, at each turn, make the audience think that things are going to turn out okay, and then slam the door in its face. this film is able to do just that. alan ladd doesn't get the lead billing (that honor goes to lake and preston), but make not mistake - he is the star of the film. he plays a loner hit-man and we pick up the action just before he's set to do a job. he holds up his end of the bargain, but the man who hired him pays him in marked bills in an attempt to pin a robbery on him. ladd goes on the lam, but runs into the girlfriend (lake) of a cop (preston) who is after him for having passed one of the marked bills. little does ladd, or even preston, know, but lake has been enlisted by the government to do some investigative work on the man who paid ladd for the hit with the marked dough. it's quite a criss-crossed story, but it's all very easy to follow and very fun to watch while it unfolds. lake is sworn to secrecy because of the sensitive nature of her investigation, and she has no idea that the man she meets on the train (ladd) is the same man her boyfriend is pursuing. it's not as dark a noir as detour, but the ending is surprisingly affecting and certainly dark enough to qualify as a noir. the lighting is more subtle than it is in some noir and i made a note of looking into the cinematographer on this film. my hunch was right - john seitz did the cinematography for this and such films as invaders from mars, sunset blvd., double indemnity, sullivan's travels, and big clock. it's a crime that i've never heard of the guy. but i redeemed myself by finally looking into his work after watching this film. with sunset blvd and double indemnity i probably attributed the good lighting and camera work to billy wilder and the same is true for sullivan's travels and preston sturges. at any rate, this is a good film - ladd and lake do a good job, preston is capable; the cinematography is good even though it doesn't knock you over the head with its brilliance; and the story is well-constructed despite being a little far-fetched in places. B+.

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