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He Walked by Night (1948)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,778 users  
Reviews: 66 user | 36 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.

Directors:

(as Alfred Werker) , (uncredited)

Writers:

(story), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: He Walked by Night (1948)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Scott Brady ...
...
Police Capt. Breen
...
James Cardwell ...
Police Sgt. Chuck Jones
...
Lee Whitey
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

From the Homicide Files of the Los Angeles Police. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

9 August 1949 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The L.A. Investigator  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

A revolver ejects its spent casings only if the shooter does so manually, which Richard Baseheart didn't do, therefore the police could not have even had them to compare with the fired casings from the automatic. An even bigger blunder was the photo comparing the two fired shells, they were clearly marked .380 auto, an entirely different round than the .38 special or .45 auto that the police claimed were fired from the same gun. So now there were three different guns used to create this technical error. In addition, when Jack Webb shows his blow-up photos, all three ejector markings are in the precise same location on the cartridge head, a statistical impossibility. In fact, all three are blow-ups of one photograph. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: [Referring to the composite sketch] They showed that picture to the inmates of jails and prisons, to men with a wide acquaintance among the cat burglars and the violence boys, informers, con men, and sharpshooters - those on the fringe of crime and those deep in the rackets. Many wanted to help - nobody could! No one in the Underworld recognized that mysterious face. He was as unknown as if he had lived in the 16th Century.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Menace II Society (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Alton's Camera, Basehart's Acting Highlight This Noir
22 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Not as good as hyped, this film noir, however, is still interesting and suspenseful. It's full of good film noir photography with lots of nighttime shots with many shadows, not only outdoors but indoors and even in the Los Angeles sewer system! I recommended getting the Anthony Mann DVD pack so you get the best picture quality. With all that darkness, you need to see this on a good transfer.

Mann is an uncredited director for this film, or at least a co-director. John Alton, the cinematographer who worked with him on a couple of other film noirs, did the camera-work and he was one of the best.

Richard Basehart plays a convincing no-conscience killer. He as very interesting to watch all the way through. It also was entertaining to see a young Jack Webb play a forensics-type cop. This was his pre-Dragnet television show period but this was a good vehicle for his cop work. In fact, this movie even had a Dragnet feel to it with some kooky minor characters, such as the lady talking to the milkman/cop.

This movie dragged a big in the middle but overall was entertaining enough to recommend, especially to film noir fans. Just make sure you see this with a good print.


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