6.8/10
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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
...
Petey
...
Sgt. Barrett
Charles Evans ...
Captain Anderson (as Charlie Evans)
...
Hazel Downs
Raymond Largay ...
Arthur Stacey, M.D.
Harry Bronson ...
Danny
Hal Baylor ...
Coke (as Hal Fieberling)
...
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:

Savage Story of A Guy Who Tried Going Straight On...The CROOKED WAY (reissue print ad) 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
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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

Those Gamblers Blues
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Louis Forbes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"I've A Steel Plate Instead of a Past"
14 January 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Crooked Way an independent production released by United Artists finds John Payne in the role of an amnesiac who makes his way to Los Angeles with a different name and no memories of what he did before the war injuries. He got a silver star for service, but that tells him nothing of his past before World War II.

It turns out that he was a gangster who doublecrossed a confederate played by Sonny Tufts who took a prison rap for a couple of years in which time Payne left Los Angeles. Payne also finds the woman he was married to, Ellen Drew who pretty much repudiates him and who he was and now is. Of course that changes over the course of the film.

This film was Payne's introduction to the noir genre and it's all right, though not as good as later films like Kansas City Confidential and The Boss. Payne's career paralleled that of Dick Powell who had given up musicals for noir and action films a bit earlier.

The real revelation in The Crooked Way was Sonny Tufts who at Paramount in the Forties played leads that exuded a kind of goofy charm to them. He was outstanding in his part as the villain of The Crooked Way. He might have overacted a bit, but the part did call for it. He should have reinvented himself with this film, but his career would be petering out gradually during the Fifties.

The story has things wrapping up just a tad too neatly for Payne in the end, still Payne definitely showed he had a career in noir with The Crooked Way.


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