6.8/10
1,340
43 user 22 critic

Desperate (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller | 9 May 1947 (USA)
A young married couple flee both police and a gangster out for revenge.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (additional dialogue) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Cornered (1945)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Canadian flyer Laurence Gerard finds that his wife has been murdered by a French collaborator. His quest for justice leads him to Switzerland and Argentina.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Dick Powell, Walter Slezak, Micheline Cheirel
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Mexican and American federal agents tackle a vicious gang exploiting illegal farm workers in southern California.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Howard Da Silva
Side Street (1949)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A struggling young father-to-be gives in to temptation and impulsively steals money from the office of a shady lawyer - with catastrophic consequences.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Farley Granger, Cathy O'Donnell, James Craig
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
Dial 1119 (1950)
Certificate: Passed Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A former mental patient murders a bus driver, then takes refuge in a bar, where he holds the patrons hostage.

Director: Gerald Mayer
Stars: Marshall Thompson, Virginia Field, Andrea King
Film-Noir | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When a woman he meets is murdered, a soon to be drafted sailor has until dawn to find the killer, aided by a weary dance hall girl.

Directors: Harold Clurman, William Cameron Menzies
Stars: Susan Hayward, Bill Williams, Paul Lukas
T-Men (1947)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two US Treasury agents hunt a successful counterfeiting ring.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Wallace Ford, Alfred Ryder
Railroaded! (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A beautician and her crooked boyfriend attempt to rob the bookie operation located in the back room, but when the plan goes wrong, they frame an innocent man.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: John Ireland, Sheila Ryan, Hugh Beaumont
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A well-planned robbery goes awry, with tough cop Cordell in pursuit.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Adele Jergens, William Talman
Backfire (1950)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

While recuperating from wartime back injuries at a hospital, veteran Bob Corey is visited on Christmas Eve by a beautiful stranger with an even stranger message.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Virginia Mayo, Gordon MacRae, Edmond O'Brien
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Social worker tries to befriend local slum gang.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: John Cassavetes, Sal Mineo, James Whitmore
Roadblock (1951)
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Honest LA insurance detective Joe Peters becomes corrupt after falling in love with sensual gold-digger model Diane.

Director: Harold Daniels
Stars: Charles McGraw, Joan Dixon, Lowell Gilmore
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Walt Radak
...
Pete Lavitch - Private Eye
William Challee ...
Reynolds
...
Det. Lt. Louie Ferrari (as Jason Robards)
Freddie Steele ...
Shorty Abbott
Lee Frederick ...
Joe Daly
Paul E. Burns ...
Uncle Jan
Ilka Grüning ...
Aunt Klara (as Ilka Gruning)
Edit

Storyline

When mobster Walt Radak tries to trick independent trucker Steve Randall into transporting stolen furs, Steve alerts the police, and Walt's young brother Al is caught and held for a cop-killing. When ruthless Radak tries to extort Steve's help in clearing Al, Steve and his young wife flee for their lives, only to find that the police are also in pursuit. With every man's hand against them, Steve and Anne must repeatedly abandon their temporary refuges. Finally, one midnight, the showdown... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

MURDER at any moment! SUSPENSE... in every step!!!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 May 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Desesperado  »

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

Raymond Burr's fourth film role. He became a film noir regular, usually playing a heavy. See more »

Goofs

Ferrari and another policeman are right behind Steve when he re-enters the apartment house, but they're nowhere to be seen until after the shootout is over. See more »

Quotes

Det. Lt. Louie Ferrari: Out of every seven guys who go to the chair, six go yelling, "I'm innocent!"
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Not as consistent as I would have liked but still tough and tense at turns
20 June 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Steve Randall is a truck driver looking forward to a romantic night in with his new wife after four months of marriage. However when he gets a call for a last minute transit job for the fee of $50 he can't say no. When he gets to the job he finds that he is working for Walt Radak and the cargo is actually goods being stolen from a warehouse. Alerting a passing police officer sees the officer get shot and Radak's younger brother caught by the cops; to get him out Radak tells Steve to go to the police and confess that he forced the kid to do the job for him, either that or Radak's boys will pay a visit to Steve's wife. Instead of going to the cops though, Randall alerts his wife and flees the city with both the criminals (helped by ex-PI Lavitch) and the police (in the shape of Det Lt Ferrari).

This film opens with a light tone that does little to prepare you for how quickly it all goes wrong for Steve and it is not long before he is fleeing the mob and the police. However, although it never settles back into that light tone, it does take the foot off the gas several times and produces a film that is a series of good moments rather than being a constantly taut thriller. Having said that though, the strong moments more than make up for the dips where the film develops the story and plays on the emotions of the characters – when this is tough, it is excellent and very much captures what made the "more is less" spirit of 40's/50's crime noirs so enjoyable. Steve's initial beating is played out in a dark room with a swinging lampshade; the final standoff takes place in a stairwell that is all shadows and banister; while the ambivalence of the cops and criminals make for an interesting set up.

Although the characters are not taken as deep as noir would normally require (Steve is too clean cut and not enough is made of the police using Steve as bait) the characters are still tough. Brodie is not great but does well enough despite being rather too nice for the lead role. Long is OK and luckily the film gives her limited time and concentrates on the dark rather than the dame. Burr is tremendously menacing – not a crime lord but a tough hood who remains sane throughout and is all the more menacing for being out of the picture until the end. Robards is a bit too whimsical where I would have preferred him to be cynical and uncaring, but he was still good. Support is also good from Fowley, Challee and others.

Overall this would have been a bit better if it had been a bit darker in terms of action and character as well as being more consistent in its tension but, despite what could have been, it is still enjoyably tense and tough and features good performances and some typically noir use of darkness and light in the cinematography.


11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Disappointed SteveH2002
Steve's Truck jglapin
Was Sergio Leone influenced by this film? NJCHoBITSlvr
Discuss Desperate (1947) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?