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Step by Step (1946)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 23 August 1946 (USA)
Johnny, an ex-Marine, and Evelyn, a chance acquaintance, find themselves caught up in a plot involving Nazi spies in California.



(screenplay), (based on an original story by)


Airs Tue. Oct. 25, 12:45 PM on TCM

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Complete credited cast:
Johnny Christopher
Evelyn Smith
Lowell Gilmore ...
Von Dorn
Senator Remmy
James Blackton
Ray Walker ...
Agent Jorgensen
Bruckner (as Jason Robards)
Captain Caleb Simpson


Johnny, an ex-Marine, and Evelyn, a chance acquaintance, find themselves caught up in a plot involving Nazi spies in California.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Bathing Beauty...or BABY-FACED GUN GIRL? (original print ad) See more »






Release Date:

23 August 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kryptografima V-13  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Made it's San Francisco TV debut 4 September 1956 on KPIX (Channel 5), and its New York TV debut 5 October 1956 on WOR (Channel 9). See more »


At one point after Johnny locks himself out of his car, he is seen leaning against the car door with his arm resting in the open driver's window. Clearly the windows are down. See more »

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User Reviews

Lovable Lawrence Tierney
21 June 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

This programmer is action packed with a story filled with intrigue and suspense. It was released during the transitional year 1946 when Hollywood was switching from the Nazi/Japanese menace to the Communist Cold War threat. Apparently, this entertaining little item was a hold over from the year before.

"Step by Step" deals with a Nazi spy ring in American attempting to stop vital intelligence information from reaching a US senator, involving murder and impersonation. Two innocents, Evelyn Smith (Anne Jeffreys) and Johnny Christopher (Lawrence Tierney)--if you can believe Tierney as an innocent--stumble into the espionage web as a result of a chance confrontation on the beach where Christopher is walking his dog, Bazooka, a friendly little mutt who's not bad as a Nazi hunter. Christopher becomes suspicious when the Nazi agents try to pass one of their own, Gretchen (Myrna Dell), off as Evelyn. Christopher comments to the effect that Gretchen has the body but not the face. "She looks like she just bit into a green persimmon," is one comment used in the film to describe Gretchen's puss. Christopher and Smith find an ally in motel keeper, Caleb Simpson (George Cleveland), a jolly old chap who provides a lot of fun in this otherwise rather dour tale of mistaken identity.

One of the best program thrillers to come out of Hollywood at the time, the acting is first rate with Lawrence Tierney playing against type. He was the definitive big screen "Dillinger," released the year before, until Warren Oates came along nearly thirty years later to equal his performance.

A programmer was approximately an hour-long B (budget) film released to play as a second feature to a major Hollywood release or as a double feature with another B movie. This is the way it worked in my home town: The major release would play as an "owl show," beginning at midnight on Saturday. It provided a good excuse for a teenager, called youngster back then, to keep his date out late without upsetting her parents too much. The major flick would continue to play on Sunday through Tuesday. Then for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and the early evening show on Saturday, a double feature, sometimes a triple feature, would be shown which presented the programmers such as "Step by Step." Included in all this would be cartoons, selected short subjects, advertisements, previews (coming attractions), and newsreels. Saturday afternoons were set aside for the kids. Usually, B westerns, two or three, would be shown along with cartoons, shorts, advertising, previews, newsreels, plus the added attraction of a serial. This was a treat for the children. For only a nickle or later a dime, kids would be entertained all afternoon while their parents shopped or took care of other business. They might all stay around for the early evening shows. Only the teens and adults usually stayed for the owl show.

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