He Walked by Night (1948)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller  |  10 May 1949 (Argentina)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,035 users  
Reviews: 70 user | 39 critic

This film-noir piece, told in semi-documentary style, follows police on the hunt for a resourceful criminal who shoots and kills a cop.


(as Alfred Werker) , (uncredited)


(story), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Police Capt. Breen
James Cardwell ...
Police Sgt. Chuck Jones
Lee Whitey


In the Post-World War II, in Los Angeles, a criminal shots and kills a police officer in the middle of the night. Without any leads, the chief of the LAPD assigns Sgt. Chuck Jones and Sgt. Marty Brennan to investigate the murder and apprehend the culprits. When the dealer of electronics devices, Paul Reeves, is caught selling a stolen projector, the police identifies the criminal, and connects him to other unsolved robberies. Using the witnesses of his heists, they draw their face, but the true identity of the smart and intelligent criminal is not disclosed. The perseverance of Sgt. Marty Brennan in his investigation gives a clue where he might live. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Savage! ... Searing! ... True! See more »


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Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

10 May 1949 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

The L.A. Investigator  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film served as something of a template for "Dragnet," which debuted on radio the following year, right down to the "this is the city" style opening narration, and the fact that a disclaimer appears at the beginning informing the audience that the names have been changed to protect the innocent. See more »


After examining the bullet casings, Lee tells Capt. Breen that the same gun was used to shoot Officer Rawlins and Detective Jones. But Roy actually used a revolver to kill Rawlins and a .45 automatic to shoot Jones. See more »


Narrator: And so the tedious quest went on. Sergeant Brennan wore out his shoes and his patience going from police station to police station, checking photos until his eyes were blurry, for policework is not all glamor and excitement and glory. There are days and days of routine, of tedious probing, of tireless searching - fruitless days - days when nothing goes right, when it seems as if no one could think his way through the maze of baffling trails the criminal leaves. But the answer to that is ...
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Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Definitely the progenitor of Dragnet
11 March 2001 | by (Israel) – See all my reviews

As related on http://www.adam-12.com/webb.htm ...

  • quote -

In 1949, Jack landed the role of Lt. Lee Jones in the film

"He walked by Night." After meeting LAPD Sgt. Marty Wynn,

a technical advisor for the show, Jack got the idea to develop

Dragnet after being invited to review LAPD case files.

  • end quote -

Several elements associated with _Dragnet_ appear already in _He Walked_: not only the stolid narration but also the devotion of time to routine and even futile work, the interviewing of oddballs, the explication of technology, and the incidental chit-chat about the family.

One interesting point is that we never get to find out the killer's motive: even at the expense of the audience's aesthetic satisfaction, the killer's point of view is denied to us. The only lessons we can learn from the movie are the lessons that the police learn.

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