Self-absorbed Dr. Lee Johnson enlists with the Army medical corps during World War II, more out of a feeling that it's "the thing to do" rather than deep-seated patriotism. On his first day... See full summary »
Lawyer Thomas Farrell has made a career defending crooks in trials. He has never realized that there is a downside to his success, until he meets the dancer Vicki Gayle. She makes him ... See full summary »
The uptight and dumb small time thief Nick Robey and his partner and only friend Al Molin steal $10,000.00 from a man, but the heist goes wrong. Al Molin is killed by a policeman and Nick ... See full summary »
Detective Chris Kelvaney has a brother, Eddie, who also is a policeman. He witnessed a murderer running away from the scene of the crime. Chris has contacts with the gangster Beaumonte, who... See full summary »
Jed Marlowe is a brilliant, scheming, unscrupulous criminal lawyer whose specialty is defending criminal he knows is guilty but gets them off through loop-holes or bribery. Then his ... See full summary »
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>
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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