6.8/10
565
28 user 10 critic

The Crooked Way (1949)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 22 April 1949 (USA)
War hero recovers from amnesia & is confronted by his criminal past.

Director:

Writers:

(radio play "No Blade Too Sharp"), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Vince Alexander
...
Nina Martin
...
Lieutenant Joe Williams
Percy Helton ...
Petey
...
Sgt. Barrett
Charles Evans ...
Captain Anderson (as Charlie Evans)
Greta Granstedt ...
Hazel Downs
Raymond Largay ...
Arthur Stacey, M.D.
Harry Bronson ...
Danny
Hal Baylor ...
Coke (as Hal Fieberling)
Don Haggerty ...
Hood
Jack Overman ...
Hood
Crane Whitley ...
Doctor Kemble / Off-Screen Narrator
John Harmon ...
Kelly
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Storyline

A World War II veteran, suffering from amnesia but otherwise healthy, is released from a veteran's hospital, decides to return to Los Angeles to see if he can regain his identity. Trying to retrace his former steps he soon learns that he was a double-crossing gangster, and many people have reasons to wish he wasn't around...and some try to see to it that he isn't around very long...alive, at least. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He's got a date ...with DEATH! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 April 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Herr der Unterwelt  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In one scene, John Payne hitches a ride in a mortuary van from a place called "Green Acres". It's coincidental that the movie's cast includes Frank Cady and Percy Helton, who both appeared on the TV series of the same name. See more »

Goofs

Alexander's position in front of the War Surplus store changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Rice: [to Nina Martin] Keep your lights off and the motor running.
See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
Arranged by Louis Forbes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unexceptional Except for Visuals
11 December 2013 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Decent, if unexceptional noir. Amnesiac ex-GI (Payne) exits VA hospital to pursue his real identity, which soon involves him in LA underworld. Real star here, as others point out, is photographer Alton, who provides the production with a strong visual edge. Too bad that neither the script nor the performances rise to that same visual level. Payne is workman-like as the afflicted vet trying to escape his old life and start a new one. However, there's nothing dramatically distinctive about his presence. Note too how deglamorized Drew is in her role as Nina, which is unusual for that kind of gangland role.

The real problem, however, as others also point out, is Sonny Tufts' impersonation of a tough guy mastermind. It's just not his natural disposition, and he lacks the acting range to successfully fake it. Instead, we get a series of near laughable facial distortions meant to prove his tough guy intent. On the other hand, in the right kind of nice guy role, e.g. Easy Living {1949}, Tufts could be quite effective. Too bad we don't get more of Percy Helton's raspy Petey. He lends just the right kind of character color the movie sorely needs.

Likely, the film is too low-key for its own good. Not even the abrupt killing of the cop registers the way it should. We simply observe without being made to feel. Anyway, the movie remains a visual treat in b&w, even though the dramatics fail to work up a level of edge or impact that could make the results memorable. A routine noir, at best.


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