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>
This film received its USA television premiere in Los Angeles Monday 15 October 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia Saturday 3 November 1956 on WFIL (Channel 6) and by New York City Sunday 24 February 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2); in San Francisco it was first telecast 4 February 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »
At around ten minutes, a group of doctors are looking at Kenet's skull x-rays. The x-rays are hung behind the illuminated frosted glass panels - so that we can see the x-rays, but the doctors could not. And the x-ray as we see it is oriented correctly to show a left side hematoma, but to the doctors, the x-ray is reversed meaning the hematoma would be on the right. 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.
29 of 32 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?