7.8/10
5,542
98 user 64 critic

Nightmare Alley (1947)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir | 28 October 1947 (USA)
The rise and fall of Stanton Carlisle, a mentalist whose lies and deceit prove to be his downfall.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $0.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC

Comic-Con 2017: All Aboard the IMDboat

 | 

July 20 to 23, 2017

Get entertainment news, trailer drops, and photos with IMDb's coverage of 2017 San Diego Comic-Con featuring host and IMDboat captain Kevin Smith, including Saturday's live event.

Browse Our Guide to Comic-Con

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Kiss of Death (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

With his law-breaking lifestyle in the past, an ex-con, along with his family, attempt to start a new life, knowing a betrayed someone from the past is bound to see otherwise.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray
Criss Cross (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An armored truck driver and his lovely ex-wife conspire with a gang to have his own truck robbed on the route.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Det. Sgt. Mark Dixon wants to be something his old man wasn't: a guy on the right side of the law. But Dixon's vicious nature will get the better of him.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A war-veteran-turned-truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb
The Set-Up (1949)
Crime | Film-Noir | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias
Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
The Big Clock (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When powerful publishing tycoon Earl Janoth commits an act of murder at the height of passion, he cleverly begins to cover his tracks and frame an innocent man whose identity he doesn't ... See full summary »

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, Charles Laughton
No Way Out (1950)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A black doctor is assigned to treat two racist White, robbery suspects who are brothers, and when one dies, it causes tension that could start a race riot.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, Stephen McNally
The Big Combo (1955)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: Richard Conte, Jean Wallace, Cornel Wilde
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Secretary tries to help her boss, who is framed for a murder.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, William Bendix
Fallen Angel (1945)
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A slick con man arrives in a small town looking to make some money, but soon gets more than he bargained for.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Alice Faye, Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell
Crossfire (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A man is murdered, apparently by one of a group of soldiers just out of the army. But which one? And why?

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Zeena Krumbein
...
Molly
...
Lilith Ritter
...
Ezra Grindle
...
Bruno
...
Pete Krumbein
Edit

Storyline

The ambitious Stanton "Stan" Carlisle works in a sideshow as carny and assistant of the mentalist Zeena Krumbein, who is married with the alcoholic Pete. The couple had developed a secret code to pretend to read minds and was successful in the show business before Pete starts drinking. Stan stays with them expecting to learn their code and leave the carnival to be a successful mentalist. Stan also flirts with the gorgeous Molly that lives in the carnival with the strong Bruno. Zeena and The Savage, an alcoholic man that eats live chickens that the audiences believe that is a savage, are the greatest attractions of the sideshow. When Stan gives booze to Pete and he dies, Stan finds that Pete had drunk methyl alcohol and not his booze, but he feels guilty for the death of him. Zeena teaches the code to him and Molly helps Stan to learn them. After an incident, Stan is forced to marry Molly and he decides to move to Chicago with her to become a sensation in a night club. One day, he ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He was all things to all men ... but only one thing to all women!

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 October 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Scharlatan  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Eddie Muller of the Film Noir Foundation, charlatans and grifters in the new age/mystic con would use the phrase "Are you a friend of Stan Carlisle?" or a variation on it to confirm that the person they were talking to was in the same line of business. See more »

Goofs

During Powers's cab ride away from Walker's apartment, the Chicago Theater is visible in the rear-projection behind the car. After several more minutes of driving, the cab turns around in front of the same theater. See more »

Quotes

Zeena Krumbein: Look at him. He's like a dog waiting for somebody to throw him a bone.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Sobre las olas (Over the Waves)
(uncredited)
Music by Juventino Rosas
Played during the opening carnival scene
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
obscure but memorable
31 July 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It is totally amazing, nearly 60 years later, to realize the lengths that 20th Century Fox went to in order to keep Tyrone Power a handsome leading man rather than letting him show his stuff. It's no wonder Fox came to disgrace during the Cleopatra era. Pity it didn't happen earlier so Power had more opportunities to show his acting range.

Nightmare Alley was a favorite of mine from the time I was a teenager -a film Power fought to make and one that the studio never publicized and released as a B film. Spiteful bunch, considering the money he had made for them! Power, Blondell, Gray, Helen Walker, and the marvelous Ian Keith turn in great performances in a gritty film somewhat ahead of its time for its unrelenting toughness, its hard view of alcoholism, a look inside the world of mentalists and carnival life, and its theme of the supernatural. It is reminiscent of "Ace in the Hole" and some of the later, cynical Wilder films.

Power was one of those actors whose drop dead gorgeous appearance kept him from some excellent roles, thanks to his studio. He sometimes could appear rigid (though not in this film) but someone I knew saw him in a Broadway play and said it was like being alone in a room with him, he had such magnetism. We have so few examples of his really great work - the recording of John Brown's Body is one, this film is another - it's great that it's now out on DVD and available to the public.


45 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?