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Nightmare Alley (1947)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,479 users  
Reviews: 89 user | 63 critic

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 ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Zeena Krumbein
...
Molly
Helen Walker ...
Lilith Ritter
Taylor Holmes ...
Ezra Grindle
...
Bruno
Ian Keith ...
Pete Krumbein
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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:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The telephone numbers of the Helen Walker character, Consulting Psychologist Lilith Ritter, are STAte 9862 (for her Office in the Lakeshore Building) and ROGrs Pk 8685 (for her Residence in the Belmont Apartments), both adjacent to the Lake Michigan waterfront on the near north side of Chicago. 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

McGraw - Final Carnival Owner: Wait. I just happened to think of something. I might have a job you can take a crack at. Course it isn't much and I'm not begging you to take it, but it's a job.
Stanton Carlisle: That's all I want.
McGraw - Final Carnival Owner: And we'll keep you in coffee and cake. Bottle every day, place to sleep it off in. What do you say? Anyway, it's only temporary, just until we can get a real geek.
Stanton Carlisle: Geek?
McGraw - Final Carnival Owner: You know what a geek is, don't you?
Stanton Carlisle: Yeah. Sure, I... I know what a geek is.
McGraw - Final Carnival Owner: Do you think you can handle it?
Stanton Carlisle: Mister, I was made for it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Across the Hall (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

The Boston Burglar
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by George Beranger
See more »

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User Reviews

A suicidal film
26 November 2003 | by See all my reviews

One of the most obscure films produced by classic Hollywood. It's Tyrone Power in the role of his life and the tragedy of an ambitious circus apprentice becoming a con artist and gradually turning into a pseudo-religious guru. Both director Edmund Goulding (Grand Hotel, Dark Victory) and writer W.L. Gresham committed suicide, and one can smell suicide in this gem of a film, that is the story of the embezzlement of a gift. That circus operates as a good metaphor of the B-system Hollywood of the 40's, where geeks worked side by sided with geniuses. The tarot cards foresee the worst: there's a geek in every man's soul, no matter how big one can be, a downfall no imposed `happy ending' can hide. In this nightmare populated by fun-fairs, alcoholism and eccentric millionaires obsessed with the deceased, the film version makes use of the essential from the source novel and provides the best invention: an unscrupulous psychiatrist who records her patients on tape and then blackmails them, a device that Brian de Palma himself would have be proud of.


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Deleted scene. Why? Texian04
Line about geek only used once? mlraymond
Ambiguity of the movie and its characters mlraymond
Gresham's novel Nightmare Alley sticks114
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The Ending directoralansmithee
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