A crusty old Sargent of the Queen's Australian army in World War I befriends a small orphaned boy and his tiny sister on the night he is to go back to Australia. The Sargent emotionally ... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard
Steven Kenet, suffering from a recurring brain injury, appears to have strangled his wife. Having confessed, he's committed to an understaffed county asylum full of pathetic inmates. There, Dr. Ann Lorrison is initially skeptical about Kenet's story and reluctance to undergo treatment. But against her better judgement, she begins to doubt his guilt, and endangers her career on a dangerous quest through dark streets awash with rain. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The old man singing "Home on the Range" in the bathtub treatment room doesn't sing the correct lyrics. He sings "where seldom is heard a disparaging word, And the skies are cloudy all day."
And the skies are not cloudy all day. The correct lyric is "Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day". See more »
As another reviewer has remarked, "The High Wall" contains a fine performance from the often wooden Robert Taylor. The main character is this tale is in an archetypal "fugitive" situation: he is determined to find the true murderer of his own wife, a crime of which he is himself accused. Taylor underplays the desperation nicely, and he elicits a convincing concern for his young son. This 1947 film also captures Taylor at the tail end of his best looks. The stony appearance that calcified his later career is here only incipient.
What distinguishes "The High Wall" even more strongly is the oppressively 'noir' quality of its cinematography. Several scenes have a powerful 'noir' mood: dark, rainy streets, claustrophobic apartment rooms. Moreover, there are a couple of well done 'whirlpool' flashbacks, as well as some surprising violence.
The film is economically and atmospherically directed by Curtis Bernhardt, who guided Joan Crawford through one of her best performances in "Possessed" (also 1947).
Every other performer in "The High Wall" is in top form, but the underappreciated Audrey Totter must be singled out. For some reason, this gifted actress has been virtually ignored in appreciation of 1940s films, particularly in regard to 'film noir'. She has created several memorable and beautifully played characters in 'films noirs' like "Tension", "The Setup", "The Lady in the Lake" "The Postman Always Rings Twice"--to name a few. In "The High Wall", Totter balances the weight of the drama perfectly against Taylor's character. Together, they bring distinction to what could have been ordinary fare.
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