6.6/10
931
26 user 8 critic

Crack-Up (1946)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 6 September 1946 (USA)
Art curator George Steele experiences a train wreck...which never happened. Is he cracking up, or the victim of a plot?

Director:

Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A naive small-town girl comes to New York City to meet her husband, and discovers that he may be a murderer.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Kim Hunter, Dean Jagger
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A district attorney rises to political success and the governorship but loses his sense of morality once he starts associating with the shadowy and perhaps diabolical Nick Beal.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Ray Milland, Audrey Totter, Thomas Mitchell
The Locket (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Just before a wedding, the bridegroom hears a complex tale painting his lovely bride as devilish and unbalanced.

Director: John Brahm
Stars: Laraine Day, Robert Mitchum, Brian Aherne
Johnny Angel (1945)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Johnny Angel sets out to learn who hijacked a gold shipment from his father's ship and killed his father, the captain. He is joined in the search by Paulette, whose own father has been ... See full summary »

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: George Raft, Claire Trevor, Signe Hasso
Born to Kill (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A calculating divorcée risks her chances at wealth and security with a man she doesn't love by getting involved with the hotheaded murderer romancing her foster sister.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Claire Trevor, Lawrence Tierney, Walter Slezak
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An ambitious barrister and his wife are targeted by blackmailers. In trying to save her husband, the wife becomes involved in a murder case her husband is trying. For his part, the husband's actions make him a suspect in a related murder.

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Loretta Young, Franchot Tone, Lewis Stone
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After being hired to find an ex-con's former girlfriend, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley
Raw Deal (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Joe Sullivan has taken the rap for Rick who double-crosses him with a flawed escape plan and other means intended to get rid of him.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt
Borderline (1950)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Two undercover agents infiltrate a drug-smuggling ring in Mexico, but neither is aware of the other's identity.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Claire Trevor, Raymond Burr
The Big Clock (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When powerful publishing tycoon Earl Janoth commits an act of murder at the height of passion, he cleverly begins to cover his tracks and frame an innocent man whose identity he doesn't ... See full summary »

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, Charles Laughton
Framed (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Mike Lambert, seeking a mining job, instead becomes the patsy for a femme-fatale's schemes.

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: Glenn Ford, Janis Carter, Barry Sullivan
Split Second (1953)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two escaped killers take hostages and hide in a Nevada mining ghost town without knowing that an atom bomb is scheduled to be tested there the next morning.

Director: Dick Powell
Stars: Stephen McNally, Alexis Smith, Jan Sterling
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Traybin
...
Dr. Lowell
...
Lt. Cochrane
...
Reynolds
...
Stevenson
...
Barton
Mary Ware ...
Mary
Edit

Storyline

George Steele, art curator at a small museum, has an apparent mental breakdown one night, convinced he was in a train wreck...which never happened. In flashback, shortly after proposing to x-ray some old master paintings the museum has on loan, Steele is called on an unplanned nocturnal train trip. He suddenly sees another train ahead, speeding toward his... Is George indeed cracking up, or is there a plot to discredit him? The mystery grows murky with shadowy menace... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

COULD I KILL...AND NOT REMEMBER? (original print ad-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 September 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Galveston  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 30, 1946 with Pat O'Brien reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

The ship Pat O'Brien goes to is riding so high at the dock that it is obviously empty, even though it is due to sail at 1:00 a.m. with a cargo. See more »

Quotes

Traybin: No doubt about it. Those boys could paint.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Noirish mystery set in perilous places: Aboard trains and in museums
2 December 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

The title of Irving Reis' Crack-Up sums up two elements of its plot: the wreck of a train carrying Pat O'Brien and the psychotic episode he throws in its aftermath. He gives lectures at a New York museum, demystifying art for the masses, who obligingly moan reverently at Monet but hoot derisively at Dali. When a phone call (sick mother) summons him upstate, he boards a train on which he freezes like a deer in the headlamp of a renegade engine hurtling straight at him. Oddly, he survives, but upon his return hurls a fire extinguisher through the gallery doors, assaults a policeman, and babbles incoherently about the accident. Trouble is, Mom's in fine fettle, and there was no crash.

The movie joins him in sorting out the dramatic turns his life has taken. Helping him is Claire Trevor, a fixture in Manhattan art-snob circles. Herbert Marshall purports to help, too, but he keeps his cards close to his vest. Quite candidly not much help are the museum's board and its snooty benefactors, among them Ray Collins, who were never keen about the democratic spirit O'Brien breathed into their mausoleum and use his erratic behavior to halt his series of light-hearted talks. The police, too, have a stake; O'Brien did, after all, throw that punch....

One of the felicities of Crack-Up is that it takes its canvases seriously, putting them at the core of the story. (A similar respect for art, music and theater, and for audiences assumed to have some acquaintance with them, routinely elevated films of the 1940s; times, plainly, have changed.) Of course monetary rather than esthetic value drives the villains here, as O'Brien slowly uncovers an international art scam, which is why he was derailed in the first place.

The train crash itself – a very scary sequence, brilliantly handled by Reis – emerges, in the final wrapping-up, as the weakest point of the movie, a baroque twist too far-fetched to convince. Because of this contrivance, the movie cleaves to the over-plotted mysteries of the 1930s and early 1940s rather than to the emergent noir cycle that, in its look and many of its devices, it otherwise resembles. But then there's the always toothsome Claire Trevor, whose ensembles take inspiration from the uniforms of the just-won war; festooned in military braid and berets, she tilts the scales towards noir. Either way, Crack-Up offers some suspenseful fun spiked with a surprising note of sophistication.


39 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?