Impact (1949)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  26 September 1949 (Sweden)
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Reviews: 54 user | 12 critic

A unfaithful wife plots with her lover to kill her husband, but the lover is accidentally killed instead. The husband stays in hiding, and lets his wife be charged with conspiracy.



(screenplay) (as Dorothy Reid) , (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Su Lin Chung
Robert Warwick ...
Clarence Kolb ...
Art Baker ...
Eldredge - Defense Attorney
William Wright ...
Sheilah Graham ...
Sheila Graham
Tony Barrett ...
Philip Ahn ...
Glen Vernon ...
Ed (as Glenn Vernon)
Linda Leighton ...
Miss Revere - Telephone Operator (as Linda Johnson)


In San Francisco, the successful self-made businessman Walter Williams has just bought three factories in Denver with the approval of the board of directors. His beloved wife Irene tells him that she is not feeling well to travel with him, and asks Walter to give a lift to her cousin Jim Torrance. On the highway, Jim, who is actually Irene's lover, tries to kill Walter hitting his head and throwing him in a cliff, and has a fatal accident while escaping driving Walters's car. Walter is considered dead and later his wife is sent to jail accused of plotting his murder. Meanwhile, the wounded Walter sleeps in a moving van and awakes in Larkspur, a small town in Idaho. He is hired as a mechanic in a gas station by the owner, Marsha Peters. For three months, Walter reads the news, expecting revenge with Irene sentenced to death, and he and Marsha fall in love for each other. When Walter discloses the truth to Marsha, she convinces him to return to San Francisco and save his unfaithful wife... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They're one kiss away from MURDER See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 September 1949 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Mysteriet Williams  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Midway through the film, Walter tells Marsha: "A rolling stone gathers no moss." Later, when Marsha asks Walter if he's returning to hometown, Walter replies: "Wild horses couldn't drag me back there." Nearly 25 years after the release of this film, British group The Rolling Stones had a hit with the song "Wild Horses." See more »


When Marsha tries to convince Walter/Bill that he has to return to San Francisco and tell his side of the story, the shadow of the boom is visible on the wall behind them. See more »


Mrs. King: Don't forget, it's easier to be tolerant and understanding at fifty than it is to be at twenty-five.
See more »


It Can't Be
Written by Leo C. Popkin and Chuck Gould
See more »

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User Reviews

Many memorable moments
26 May 2003 | by (Zurich, Switzerland) – See all my reviews

Whoever likes movies of the late Forties should not miss this one. It tells a typical film noir story that is coherent and easy to understand. Impact is a quite artful picture, obviously made by first rate professionals. The balance between location shooting (mainly in and around San Francisco) and the extraordinarily stylish sets is in my opinion perfect and well thought out. At the center of the story is the attempted killing of the main character by his wife's lover. The car with the two men drives at night along a sinuous mountain road. It slows down and stops because of a flat tyre. As the viewers already know, this is the spot where the murder should take place. With unbelievable ease the natural surroundings (reminding you of the dramatic climax in Hitchcock's Family Plot) change into an almost expressionistic stage set with artificial fog at the bottom and everything. It is an unforgettable moment. What the film people could achieve in those days!

Brian Donlevy has some very good moments. As after a phone call he fully realises that his wife who he naively loved (calling himself "Softy" in his messages to her) had cheated and betrayed him, he stumbles to a bench on a station platform, stares into the void with dim eyes and then starts crying with rage and frustration. The scene takes almost a minute and proves that Donlevy is a much underrated actor who should be honored more.

Apart from the realistic presentation of parts of San Francisco in the late Forties (it complements Welles‘ impressions in Lady from Shanghai"), Impact has some nice pieces of slang (at least to a foreigner whose mother tongue is not English). "Grovel a shuteye" for "taking a nap", that's nice, isn't it?

33 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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