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Whispering Smith (1948)

Passed  -  Western  -  9 December 1948 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 549 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 6 critic

Legendary railroad detective Whispering Smith becomes convinced that old friend and colleague Murray Sinclair has joined a criminal band to loot the railroad.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Whispering Smith (1948)

Whispering Smith (1948) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Murray Sinclair
Marian Sinclair
Barney Rebstock
Bill Dansing
Fay Holden ...
Emmy Dansing
Murvyn Vye ...
Blake Barton
Whitey Du Sang
John Eldredge ...
George McCloud
Ward Wood ...
Leroy Barton (as Robert Wood)
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
Bill Baggs
Sheriff McSwiggin
Don Barclay ...
Dr. Sawbuck
Eddy Waller ...
Conductor (as Eddy C. Waller)
Ashley Cowan ...
Train Brakeman


Smith as an iron-willed railroad detective. When his friend Murray is fired from the railroad and begins helping Rebstock wreck trains, Smith must go after him. He also seems to have an interest in Murray's wife (and vice versa). Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 December 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Whispering Smith  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on September 16, 1949 with Alan Ladd reprising his film role. See more »


When Murray punches Luke, he falls sideways off the chair. However, in the shot of Luke landing on the floor, he lands on his back. See more »


Murray Sinclair: [Seeing Smith on foot and soaked to the skin] You sure picked a fine night for a wash. What's the matter? Don't you like horses anymore?
Luke 'Whispering' Smith: Sure, I had one, but they shot it out from under me.
See more »


Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
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User Reviews

Excellent Direction and Actor, Nice Cinematography
3 May 2011 | by (Orlando, United States) – See all my reviews

I was very impressed with the direction of this film. Everybody is acting believably and sincerely in their roles. The film's main Love triangle stars, Alan Ladd, Robert Preston and Brenda Marshall, are hitting every line out of the ballpark. Actors with stock character, smaller roles such as Donald Crisp, William Demarest (My three Sons), and Frank Faylen (Dobie Gillis' father)are taking their parts seriously and making them interesting. It is sad that director Leslie Fenton seems to have retired a few years after this film at the age of 50. As a former actor, he knew how to direct actors and get excellent performances out of them. The cinematography is another plus. Ray Rennahan won Academy Awards for "Gone with the Wind" and "Blood and Sand" and was nominated for five others. He was among the very best color cinematographers in the Golden Age of Hollywood. He also worked on the television series "Whispering Smith" starring Audie Murphy, in 1961. While there are no dazzling scenes, every scene is sharply lit and a pleasure to watch.

There is a slight hitch in the script in that a dramatic climax comes about half way into the 88 minute film. This story involves Whispering Smith chasing outlaw Barton. There is then a switch to a second story involving the previously mentioned love triangle and Whispering Smith having to face his old friend Murray who has married Marion, the woman that Smith was in love with.

The movie does drag a bit after the first climax. There is also a ridiculous montage where the villains cause three trains to crash inside of one month and they loot the wrecked trains. It seems silly that the railroad did not send Smith back to investigate after the first crash.

What lifts the movie over this jerkiness is the great chemistry between the three leads. It is sad that this was Brenda Marshall's next to last picture. Her career ended two years later at age 38 after she married William Holden. Ladd went on to do "Shane"(1953) and Preston was fantastic in "Music Man" (1962) and "Victor Victoria" (1982).

Not quite a classic Western, but a good, solid well-acted and beautifully photographed one.

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Review of the film with a comparison to the original novel. tdefores
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