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The Clay Pigeon (1949)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 272 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 10 critic

Jim Fletcher, waking up from a coma, finds he is to be given a court martial for treason and charged with informing on fellow inmates in a Japanese prison camp during WWII. Escaping from ... See full summary »

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(as Richard O. Fleischer)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bill Williams ...
...
Martha Gregory
Richard Quine ...
Ted Niles
Richard Loo ...
Ken Tokoyama - aka The Weasel
Frank Fenton ...
Lt. Cmdr. Prentice
...
Navy Hospital Doctor
Marya Marco ...
Mrs. Helen Minoto (as Mary Marco)
...
Gunsel Blake
...
Miss Harwick - Wheeler's Receptionist
Harold Landon ...
Blind Veteran
James Craven ...
John Wheeler
Grandon Rhodes ...
Naval Intelligence Agent Clark
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Storyline

Jim Fletcher, waking up from a coma, finds he is to be given a court martial for treason and charged with informing on fellow inmates in a Japanese prison camp during WWII. Escaping from the hospital he tries to clear himself by enlisting the aid of Martha Gregory, widow of a service buddy he was accused of informing on. Helped also by Ted Niles, a surviving fellow prisoner, he gets closer to finding the answers he needs, and becomes ensnared in a grandiose scheme involving his Japanese ex-prison guard, $10,000,000 of US currency forged by the Japanese and a burgeoning crime network poised to wreak havoc throughout southern California. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

amnesia | See All (1) »

Genres:

Film-Noir | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 October 1949 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Alma em Sombras  »

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?

Goofs

At around the 37min mark, after Martha returns to the hotel from meeting Ted, she unties her jacket. In the next shot, it is tied again. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Too Many Plot Devices
9 February 2011 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Starts off well as amnesiac vet (Williams) is chased by mysterious forces including not so mysterious Naval Intelligence. Now he's got to unravel the puzzle before it catches up to him. Good thing he gets help from dead buddy's wife (Hale). That chase sequence from San Diego to LA is particularly well done, and in good noirish fashion. Then too, the fight in Hale's apartment almost had me yelling for help. Only a devoted married couple like Williams and Hale could make it so physically realistic. However, once events locate in LA, the story settles into a more familiar pattern.

Unfortunately, a compromised script prevents the promising start from reaching front rank. Paradoxically, the screenplay is from ace writer Carl Foreman (High Noon; Bridge on the River Kwai, et al). I can only surmise that the brief running time (63-minutes) and a tight B-movie shooting schedule forced him to compromise the narrative in implausible fashion. For example—Hale's quick turnaround with escaped fugitive Williams, especially when she thinks he's responsible for her husband's death; the chance encounter with Japanese ex-prison guard Richard Loo; the cops unexplained boarding of the train in the middle of nowhere when they planned to wait in Glendale; but most of all, the angelic mother who allows a fugitive stranger she's just let in the door to hide in the same room as her infant son.

These devices may expedite the plot, but they also come across as just that, plot devices-- too many, in my view, for what is also a pretty dense narrative. At the same time, guessing the mystery's real culprit becomes pretty easy, thereby undermining the suspense. Also, director Fleischer shows little of the personal engagement that distinguishes his other noirs. All in all, the movie adds up to an average programmer that unfortunately promises more than it delivers.


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