While recuperating from wartime back injuries at a hospital, veteran Bob Corey is visited on Christmas Eve by a beautiful stranger with an even stranger message.



(screenplay) (as Larry Marcus), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Film-Noir | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When a woman he meets is murdered, a soon to be drafted sailor has until dawn to find the killer, aided by a weary dance hall girl.

Directors: Harold Clurman, William Cameron Menzies
Stars: Susan Hayward, Bill Williams, Paul Lukas
Desperate (1947)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A young married couple flee both police and a gangster out for revenge.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Steve Brodie, Audrey Long, Raymond Burr
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A well-planned robbery goes awry, with tough cop Cordell in pursuit.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Adele Jergens, William Talman
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Social worker tries to befriend local slum gang.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: John Cassavetes, Sal Mineo, James Whitmore
Dial 1119 (1950)
Certificate: Passed Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A former mental patient murders a bus driver, then takes refuge in a bar, where he holds the patrons hostage.

Director: Gerald Mayer
Stars: Marshall Thompson, Virginia Field, Andrea King
Cornered (1945)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Canadian flyer Laurence Gerard finds that his wife has been murdered by a French collaborator. His quest for justice leads him to Switzerland and Argentina.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Dick Powell, Walter Slezak, Micheline Cheirel
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A circuit judge in the old west attempts to bring a suspected killer to justice. The judge runs afoul of the killer's rich cattle baron father in the process.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Joel McCrea, Miroslava, Kevin McCarthy
Captain China (1950)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Charles Chinnough, aka Captain China, washed ashore off his ship during a storm, is later rescued, but is relieved of duty when his former first mate, Brendensen (who thought he was dead), ... See full summary »

Director: Lewis R. Foster
Stars: John Payne, Gail Russell, Jeffrey Lynn
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Mr. Jones is a invalid husband who wrongly thinks his wife and doctor are conspiring to kill him and outlines that suspicion in letter, which causes a serious concern when he ends up dying anyway.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Loretta Young, Barry Sullivan, Bruce Cowling
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A crime-busting lawyer and his initially reluctant attorney father take on the forces that run gambling and prostitution in their small Southern town.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: John McIntire, Richard Kiley, Kathryn Grant
The Ugly Ones (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Escaped outlaw Jose Gomez returns to his home town pursued by bounty killer Luke Chilson. The towns people protect Gomez, unaware, at first, that he is now a changed and dangerous man.

Director: Eugenio Martín
Stars: Tomas Milian, Richard Wyler, Mario Brega
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Spendthrift Willie Leyland again returns to the family home in London penniless. His father is none too pleased but Willie smooth-talks him into letting him stay. At the same time he turns ... See full summary »

Director: George Fitzmaurice
Stars: Ronald Colman, Loretta Young, Frederick Kerr


Cast overview:
Ben Arno / Lou Walsh
Lysa Radoff
Police Capt. Garcia
Mrs. Blayne
Richard Rober ...
Solly Blayne
Bonnie Willis (as Shela Stephens)
David Hoffman ...


Bob Corey, recovering from a series of operations in a Veterans' hospital, learns that his friend, Steve Connelly, with whom he intended to buy a ranch, has disappeared under circumstance that indicate he may have been involved in a murder. Accompanied by his nurse, Julie Benson, with whom he has fallen in love, Bob follows a series of clues and incidents, including three more murders, that leads to a gambler, masquerading as an undertaker to avoid taxes on his illegal income, has a whole lot to do with his friend's predicament. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


That "White Heat" girl turns it on again!..


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 February 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Into the Night  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Gambler Solly Blayne (Richard Rober) is shot from outside the living room window as he relaxes in his Los Angeles home, which is exactly the same way that gangster Bugsy Siegel was killed in Beverly Hills in 1947. See more »


Bob Corey(Gordon MacRae) and Julie Benson (Virginia Mayo)are eating dinner and discussing Steve Connelly's(Edmond O'Brien)disappearance they are drinking wine and eating and there is a bottle of wine in the middle of the table next to a burning candle. Just after a close up of MacRae when it goes to a wide shot the plates are gone as is the wine bottle and the glasses. They have been replaced by coffee cups and the waiter asking if they would like more coffee. See more »


Ben Arno: [to Bob about Steve] I didn't only break his back the last ten days, I broke his heart,
See more »


Referenced in Major Crimes: Poster Boy (2013) See more »


Someone to Watch Over Me
Music by George Gershwin
Played when Steve and Solly meet at the party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Complex, exciting, and visually rich, but straining slightly under its own weight
25 June 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Backfire (1950)

A complicated, interesting and sometimes forced story about two ex-G.I.s with dreams of a ranch. But the realities of post-War America set in, with shades of old gangsterism (this is a Warner Bros. film, remember) and with siren calls from lonely women and a murder unexplained. The story is made more complicated (and interesting) by layering a number of flashbacks into the flow, and you have to really pay attention to keep the chronology straight. But this is a plus, in the end, because it's a richly dense movie you could easily watch a second time. Just the range of scenes is ambitious, from gorgeous pouring rain at night to a boxing arena to a sunny army rehab swimming pool to, of course, a detective's office. The photography (under Carl Guthrie) layers up many scenes, some are visually sensational (he also shot the great "Caged" a few months later).

Viveca Lindfors makes some stunning appearances here as Lysa, and you can see why Hollywood thought she might make a new Swedish import like Ingrid Bergman. And she can act, too, with an emotional intensity and range that makes you wonder why her career didn't, in fact, take off. Almost to set her off as the mysterious brooding beauty, the lead woman is the cute, cheerful, all American Virginia Mayo, who plays nurse and friend Julie perfectly. In a way you see in just these two how well cast, and typecast, two women can be, and how the director, Vincent Sherman, works so well with their differences, though we all wish for more of Lindfors.

Likewise for the two leading men. The main star is a pretty boy, and a decent actor, Gordon MacRae as Bob, but MacRae lacks presence and magnetism, and maybe true ability. At first we accept this because Bob is just lying in a hospital bed, with Julie cheerfully attending. But then up he gets, pain all gone, and the real movie starts. His best friend is the underrated noir staple Edmond O'Brien, who isn't pretty at all, but trying, I think, to be something of a Bogart, a regular guy named Steve, with guts and depth and reserve.

With Lindfors, he's still the best performer here, and they have a few scenes together that are the best acted, if not the best written, parts of the movie. If we take the Bergman/Bogart comparison out of "Casablanca" to an extreme here with Lindfors/O'Brien in "Backfire," we can see their scene by the piano as a kind of wartime flashback, shoehorned into the movie for no good reason except to say they must be fated to meet and fall in love. But this isn't easy when someone else already loves the girl, and that someone has a gun, and a warped mind.

Why exactly this doesn't all come together is one of the mysteries of the movies, where there are so many pieces to a puzzle that contribute successively, and concurrently, and getting them perfect is really really hard. Ultimately it's the director we look to for the big decisions (as well as the day to day control), and Sherman had shown once before his mastery of a complex story in "Mr. Skeffington." In a way, this one is just so fractured, following the film noir penchant for flashbacks and femme fatales and confusing plots, it would take a miracle, or a Michael Curtiz, to pull it off (I'm thinking "Mildred Pierce" more than "Casablanca" here).

Still, it's a great film to get lost in, and to pull out the subtleties where they really work well.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Sheila MacRae Alanlinel
Why is the copyright on the print 1948? mmmiguelmarias
Discuss Backfire (1950) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: