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Johnny O'Clock (1947)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 769 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 5 critic

High-class crook gets in trouble with the law.

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(screen play), (original story)
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Title: Johnny O'Clock (1947)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Johnny O'Clock
...
Nancy Hobson
...
Inspector Koch
...
Nelle Marchettis
...
Harriet Hobson
...
Guido Marchettis (as 'S. Thomas Gomez')
John Kellogg ...
Charlie
Jim Bannon ...
Chuck Blayden
Mabel Paige ...
Slatternly Woman Tenant
Phil Brown ...
Phil, Hotel Clerk
Edit

Storyline

High-class crook gets in trouble with the law.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Johnny was smart...too smart to tangle with women! (all uppercase on poster) See more »


Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 January 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Hora Decisiva  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On 12 May 1947, the "Lux Radio Theater" presented a radio version of this story. Dick Powell and Lee J. Cobb reprised their roles for the live radio broadcast. See more »

Quotes

Nancy Hobbs: What do I do now, Johnny?
Johnny O'Clock: Dry your eys and blow your nose in the order named.
See more »

Soundtracks

I Never Knew (That Roses Grew)
by Ted Fio Rito and Gus Kahn
[Published 1925. Played as recurring background theme]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Average, at Best
27 March 2011 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Powell's O'Clock has a snappy answer for every occasion. Moreover, he's always in charge, whether it's the cops, women, or his conniving partner. Except for a couple points of interest, however, it's a thoroughly average crime drama, even with the noirish overtones. For me, the problem is with the O'Clock character. It looks like the script was tailored to advance Powell's career from sappy song & dance man of the 30's to hardboiled leading man of the 40's. In short, if he's being menaced here by noir's unseen forces, it's crucially not reflected in his one-dimensional behavior.

The makeover started with the excellent Murder, My Sweet (1944). But that crime drama had a fine Chandler script and a sometimes befuddled detective Marlowe (Powell). This film, on the other hand, has the trappings of noir (dark venues, a faithless woman), but without the compelling subtleties. For example, O'Clock is too predictable in his superiority. As a result, we're not drawn into the plot challenges. Instead, we merely observe them, certain that O'Clock will triumph over every situation. Thus, what we're told is a sometimes interesting story, but without the added emotion of participating in it.

Fortunately, there are several engaging characters that color the narrative. Cobb's laconic cop can do more acrobatics with a cigar than any scene stealer I've seen; Drew's faithless wife gets away with more really provocative poses than usual for the time; while, Kellogg's devoted man-servant conveys at one point a rather unexpected overtone. At the same time, it's too bad we don't see more of that priceless old hard case Mabel Paige. On the other hand, Gomez's schemer lacks the kind of wicked edge his key part needs.

This is not meant to take away from Powell the actor. He was, of course, a fine performer as his overall career shows. This film, however, serves as little more than a vehicle for his tough-guy makeover. The trouble is, it comes at a cost to the picture.


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