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I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes (1948)

Approved | | Mystery, Film-Noir, Crime | 23 May 1948 (USA)
A dancer is pinned for murder after his shoe prints are found at the scene of the crime. His wife follows the trail of clues to the genuine killer.



(novel), (screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Police Inspector Clint Judd
Charles D. Brown ...
Inspector Stevens
Harry - 1st Detective
Robert Lowell ...
John L. Kosloff
District Attorney
2nd Detective
Esther Michelson ...
Mrs. Finkelstein
Ray Dolciame ...
Shoeshine Boy
William Ruhl ...
Police Lieutenant
Mr. Lake - Tom's Lawyer (as John H. Elliott)
Dorothy Vaughan ...
Mrs. Alvin
Herman Cantor ...
Jury Foreman


Tom (Don Castle) and Ann (Elyse Knox) are a down-and-out dance team, and while Don seeks engagements, Ann works as an instructor at a dance academy, with Detective Judd (Regis Toomey) one of the many customers she meets. On a hot summer night Tom, awaken from his sleep, tosses his only pair of shoes out the window to quiet two noisy cats. He goes down to retrieve them and can't find them, but Ann discovers them in front of their door the next morning. A near-by recluse is found murdered in his old shack that same day while Tom finds a wallet filled with old $20 bills. Footprints, bearing an imprint like those on a tap-dancer's shoes, plus Don's new-found wealth combine to make a good circumstantial evidence case for Judd against Tom and he is convicted. On the night before his execution, Ann seeks Judd's help in proving Tom is innocent. He turns up a suspect, Kosloff (Robert Lowell), but an air-tight alibi clears him. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

shoes | wallet | summer | recluse | murder | See All (52) »


CORNELL WOOLRICH'S sizzling shocker! (original poster) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 May 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Todeszelle Nr. 5  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Fantaisie-Impromptu in c# minor, Op. 66, for (solo) piano
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Unidentified recording played by prisoner #3
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User Reviews

A ‘lost' film noir resurfaces – and betters its expectations
1 July 2004 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

A film noir that was all but lost but recently resurfaced, I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes brings yet another of Cornell Woolrich's paranoiac nightmares to the screen. Don Castle, a hoofer on his uppers, shares a cramped room in a New York boarding house with his wife and sometime partner Elyse Knox. While he frets in his bathrobe, a fifth of gin on the bed-table, she entertains gentlemen at a buck-a-dance academy. One night, he hurls his good tap shoes (actually, his only pair of shoes) out the window at some randy cats. When he goes to retrieve them, they aren't there, but mysteriously reappear outside his door next morning.

Next thing, he's hauled in for the murder of a reclusive old miser in the neighborhood. The impression of one of his shoes clinches the conviction (and it doesn't help that he just happened to find a wallet stuffed with the old-style bills the victim hoarded). He's waiting for his execution as the movie opens, and most of the story gets told through flashbacks.

The third major character is a cop, Regis Toomey, who had met Knox at the tango palace and taken a shine to her. Desperate to clear her husband, she feigns reciprocation of Toomey's interest so he'll help her out. Toomey's another example of the obsessive, stalking cop, created by Laird Cregar in I Wake Up Screaming (1942) and reprised by Richard Boone in its remake Vicki (1953). He breaks a new development in the case by finding the tenant of another room within shoe-shot of Castle's, but this proves to be only a rather tasty red herring. As the clock ticks down to midnight and curtains for Castle, Knox stumbles upon the clue that cracks the case....

Many forgotten films from the noir cycle turn out to be just what one might suspect: hackneyed, humdrum crime programmers. But, like Decoy, I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes surprises by its competence. The dancing couple exude appeal, Toomey and the other cops offer acting rather than shtik, and the plot unfurls with reasonable deftness. It even looks good. As a restoration to the noir canon, it's more than welcome.

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