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Crack-Up (1946)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 593 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 6 critic

Art curator George Steele experiences a train wreck...which never happened. Is he cracking up, or the victim of a plot?

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Title: Crack-Up (1946)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Terry Cordell
Herbert Marshall ...
Traybin
...
Dr. Lowell
Wallace Ford ...
Lt. Cochrane
Dean Harens ...
Reynolds
Damian O'Flynn ...
Museum Curator Stevenson
Erskine Sanford ...
Museum Director Barton
Mary Ware ...
Mary Ware
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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?


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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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  »
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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 »

Quotes

Terry Cordell: [Opening her car's passenger door] Come on. Get in.
George Steele: No thanks, I'll take a streetcar; I can trust streetcars.
[A policeman's whistle is heard and we see two cops running toward Steele. Steele jumps into the car, and they take off.]
George Steele: What's your racket girlie? Whattya do for a living?
Terry Cordell: I'm outta my head. I drive around in cars picking up psychopathic killers.
[softening]
Terry Cordell: Someone has to look after you. I was at a party at Reynolds'. Things began to come apart at the seams. I drove Traybin....
George Steele: [...]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
No Favors to Train Travel
21 November 2010 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Art critic O'Brien is menaced by unseen forces and must find out who and why.

No doubt about it, that train wreck scene is brilliantly conceived and edited. In fact, the whole train sequence amounts to an atmospheric triumph. Catch the passenger car interior when O'Brien opens the door—it fairly oozes closed-in flesh, along with that shrewish wife scolding her hubby on the evils of drink. Few films manage a truly memorable sequence, but this one does.

Otherwise, it's a decent noir, though I agree it's also over-plotted and under-explained. Plus, many of those many narrow escapes are simply too contrived to stick. The movie's more one of compelling parts than a successful whole. Nonetheless, O'Brien handles his part in suitably restrained fashion, besides few actors were better at "drop dead" brush-offs, of which he gets to do several. Looks like the normally fast-talking Irishman was refashioning his image to align with the post-war crime drama craze.

But my money's on the great Ray Collins. Was there ever a smoother actor, from Citizen Kane (1941) to TV's Perry Mason of the 50's and 60's. Here, he delivers in sinister spades. Then there's poor Mary Ware as the loyally devious secretary. I'm sure she was cast for her totally innocent demeanor and looks, the better to hook the audience. But then, oh my gosh, she has to speak her lines.

The movie's subtext is in line with the war's common effort and everyman spirit. The villains act as properly outspoken elitists, first cousins presumably of the recently defeated Nazi's. At the same time, I thought art critic O'Brien's little lecture on the role of "art is what I like" made good sense.

All in all, it's a strongly visual, if somewhat turgid, noir that probably did train travel no favors.


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