A district attorney rises to political success and the governorship but loses his sense of morality once he starts associating with the shadowy and perhaps diabolical Nick Beal.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
...
Joseph Foster
...
Rev. Thomas Garfield
...
Frankie Faulkner
Geraldine Wall ...
Martha Foster
Henry O'Neill ...
Judge Ben Hobson
...
Larry Price
...
Karl
King Donovan ...
Peter Wolfe
Charles Evans ...
Paul Norton
Ernö Verebes ...
Mr. Cox - the Tailor
Arlene Jenkins ...
Aileen
Pepito Pérez ...
Poster Man (as Pepito Perez)
Joey Ray ...
Tommy Ray
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Storyline

Righteous district attorney Joseph Foster's main goal in life is to rid his city of the gangsters infesting it. In order to be even more efficient in his war against crime he plans to run for governor. One day he meets a strange, shadowy man, Nick Beal, who offers to help him to achieve his end. Beal convinces hesitating Foster by dint of easy money, easy sex with an alluring young woman and the promise of easy success. Joseph Foster soon becomes an influential politician but a corrupt one. A minister of God manages to show him that he has been the plaything of the so-called Nick Beal, who might be "Old Nick" , that is to say Satan himself. Foster then decides to resign and to become an honest man again. Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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No man ever held more terrible power over women than this tall dark handsome stranger from nowhere! See more »


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Details

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Release Date:

4 March 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alias Nicky Beal  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A marquee from Loew's Delancy Theater (NYC) showing this film is shown near the end of The Naked City (1948) behind actor Paul Ford. See more »

Quotes

Rev. Thomas Garfield: You've changed, Joseph.
Joseph Foster: How?
Rev. Thomas Garfield: Well, your clothes, for one thing.
Joseph Foster: Oh, well, what are clothes?
Rev. Thomas Garfield: And there are rumors about you and Miss Allen. I know I shouldn't mention them, or the story that you and Martha are estranged. Is it true?
Joseph Foster: Well, in a way... What's my personal trouble got to do with it?
Rev. Thomas Garfield: They're all indications of change. Then there's the influence that this Nick Beal seems to have over you.
Joseph Foster: Influence, nothing. He loaned me some money and I'll pay it back, and that's all.
Rev. Thomas Garfield: I wonder. Have ...
[...]
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Soundtracks

A Mighty Fortress
Written by Martin Luther
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User Reviews

 
ALIAS NICK BEAL (John Farrow, 1949) ****
23 October 2009 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I had long wanted to check out this modern Americanization of the "Faust" legend and, at the same time, wondered at its apparent neglect over the years. Having done so now, I am honestly baffled by this as the film is superb in every respect – keeping also in mind that there are at least three other classic cinematic versions of its prototype i.e. F.W. Murnau's Silent FAUST (1926; which retains the original setting and period), William Dieterle's THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER aka ALL THAT MONEY CAN BUY (1941; superbly rendered in terms of Americana http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033532/usercomments-20) and Rene' Clair's LA BEAUTE' DU DIABLE (1950; with the narrative, of course, re-set to France http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042235/usercomments-4). By the way, I purposely picked my birthday (17th August) to catch up with ALIAS NICK BEAL since I was to watch yet another variation on the theme – HAMMERSMITH IS OUT (1972), starring Richard Burton – anyway, as part of my ongoing tribute to that renowned thespian on the 25th anniversary of his passing! To begin with, the acting is impeccable: Ray Milland, at once charming and sinister in the title role who, not only has the penchant of never being seen entering or exiting a room but just suddenly be there Mrs. Danvers-style, but is also so evil that he threatens to blackmail the Faust character here soon after having opened the road to success for him!; Thomas Mitchell, reliable but at the same time a symbol of integrity, is actually the one to take the spotlight throughout; and Audrey Totter, the tramp with ambitions above her station who eventually reforms thanks to her proverbial heart of gold…but we also get George Macready and Fred Clark effectively cast against type as reverend and racketeer respectively! The eerie supernatural elements, then, are remarkably rendered without the use of special effects (complemented by noir-ish cinematography and an emphatic score). Among the most memorable moments we find Milland afraid of being touched and even more so of the Holy Scriptures (reprised in the film's splendid climax); the uncanny chat between Totter and Mitchell 'rehearsed' verbatim beforehand with Milland (incidentally, the blooming relationship between Mitchell and Totter is subtly mirrored in the scenes depicting Mitchell's growing estrangement from his wife); and Totter's drunken exchange with a bartender before she is picked up by Milland. The political element within the film is more of the idealistic Frank Capra variety (of which Mitchell himself was a stock performer) than the 'mature' level of the contemporaneous ALL THE KING'S MEN (1949) – although, watching this, I was immediately reminded of Raoul Walsh's James Cagney vehicle A LION IS IN THE STREETS (1953) which I only caught last month (in a retrospective of that star's work honoring the 110th anniversary of his birth). In conclusion, I would like to point out that director Farrow was an underrated film-maker from Hollywood's Golden Age and this is undoubtedly his most accomplished effort.

P.S. Watching the not dissimilar THE SOUL OF A MONSTER (1944) – also with Macready – as part of the Halloween challenge, I was inspired to finally complete my review of this film…


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