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Hunt the Man Down (1950)

The suspect in a 12-year-old murder case is finally caught and tried, but the witnesses are a bit hard to track down...





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Complete credited cast:
Sally Clark
Alice McGuire / Peggy Linden
Burnell 'Brick' Appleby
Carla Balenda ...
Rolene Wood
Walter Long
Richard Kincaid / William H. Jackson
John Kellogg ...
Kerry 'Lefty' McGuire
Harry Shannon ...
Wallace Bennett
Pat Sheldon
Christy Palmer ...
Mrs. Joan Brian


Dishwasher 'Bill Jackson' thwarts a robbery; resulting publicity fingers him as the 12-years-missing Richard Kinkaid, wanted for murder. Kinkaid half-convinces public defender Paul Bennett of his innocence; but Paul knows he'll never convince a jury without the 7 witnesses who've had 12 years to vanish. It develops that these prosperous young folks have gone down in the world. Paul and his father, a one-armed ex-cop, have a week to find them... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Secrets bared in search for killer!


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 December 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Seven Witnesses  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The poem in the letter written to the public defender by Rolene is taken from the poem known as "Tichborne's Elegy." Chidiock Tichborne took part in the 1586 Babington plot to murder Queen Elizabeth and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots. Tichborne wrote the poem to his wife when he was in the Tower of London awaiting execution. The lines in the letter are taken from the second stanza of Tichborne's 3-stanza poem. See more »


In the closing scene where Paul Bennett is cross examining Pat Sheldon, he has his hands placed on top of the witness stand. In the next shot, his arms are now folded on top of the witness stand. See more »


Kerry McGuire: He's right. I've drunk better alcohol out of compasses.
See more »


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


Written by Buddy G. DeSylva (1939)
Sung and hummed by Lynne Roberts
See more »

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User Reviews

Promising crime programmer compromised by its very brevity
6 December 2003 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

The main shortcoming of Hunt The Man Down is that it's too short. It tells the attempt to exonerate a man of a crime committed a dozen years earlier, half a dozen eye-witnesses to which have long since scattered. That's a lot a backstory to cram into a scant 68 minutes – programmer length – when the plot to unfurl is almost as complicated as The Killing or Out of the Past. Despite some nicely observed detail, ranging from Los Angeles' Skid Row to Beverly Hills estates where maids stand by swimming pools with towels on their arm, the many characters don't get their due – Hunt The Man Down becomes less complex than confusing.

James Anderson, working as a dishwasher in a bar that's held up after hours, shoots and kills the intruder; in the resultant publicity, he's spotted as the man who went on the lam before being sentenced for murder some years before. It falls to the public defender (Gig Young) to prove his innocence. With the help of his father, a one-armed retired cop (Harry Shannon), he tries to locate the guests at the impromptu drinking party in 1938 which (as such shindigs so often do) ended in the violent death of one of the merry-makers. He finds the original witnesses elusive, dissembling, deranged or dead. He also finds that, once a habit for homicide takes hold, it's hard to break....

Though Young looks, well, young, he was 37 at the time, with close to two dozen movies behind him. He's still far and away the best-known member of the cast, with the exception of Iris Adrian (as a streel) and Cleo Moore (who shows up for the concluding courtroom scene in a knock-‘em-dead black number, topped off by the sort of hat worn only by floozies in witness boxes). The movie could have used more of her, and of Adrian. For that matter, it could have used more of just about everything.

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