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Walk Softly, Stranger (1950)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Drama  |  14 October 1950 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 461 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 12 critic

A charming, smooth-talking gambler calling himself Chris Hale arrives in Ashton, home of the Corelli shoe factory. Claiming to have lived there as a boy, he soon ingratiates himself with ... See full summary »

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(screen play), (based on a story by) (as Manny Seff) , 1 more credit »
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Title: Walk Softly, Stranger (1950)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Chris Hale aka Steve
...
Elaine Corelli (as Valli)
...
Mrs. Brentman
...
Whitey Lake
Jack Paar ...
Ray Healy
Jeff Donnell ...
Gwen
...
Morgan
Howard Petrie ...
Bowen
Frank Puglia ...
A.J. Corelli
Esther Dale ...
Miss Thompson
Marlo Dwyer ...
Mabel
Robert Ellis ...
Skating Boy
Edit

Storyline

A charming, smooth-talking gambler calling himself Chris Hale arrives in Ashton, home of the Corelli shoe factory. Claiming to have lived there as a boy, he soon ingratiates himself with the townspeople... including attractive heiress Elaine Corelli, wheelchair-bound since a recent accident. Chris, hoping to leave crime behind, seems to have excellent prospects; but of course, his past catches up with him... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Strange Lie! A Strange Love! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 October 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Weep No More  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Completed in 1948, copyrighted in 1949, but not released until 1950. See more »

Quotes

Bowen: I like to keep my neck in shape. I stick it out so often.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Masters: Jack Paar: 'As I Was Saying...' (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cotten, Valli in strange little not-quite-noir, not-quite-romance
16 June 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

A sad little film noir wrapped inside a sad little love story (or vice versa), Walk Softly, Stranger maintains a subdued integrity of tone throughout. You wish it would get a move on, or that the exchanges were snappier, or the rhythms quirkier. But, no, and at the end, you have to admit that, on its own modest terms, it succeeds.

Into the heartland of Ohio drifts grifter Joseph Cotten to settle down in one of those small cities that used to be famous for something – in this case, it's the headquarters of Corelli Shoes, where he wangles himself a job. Cotten lets on that he's returning to the home town he ran away from years before – even taking up room and board with Spring Byington, a widow who now owns what used to be his house. But it's all a lie (or at least seems to be; the script sends mixed messages on this point). He's researched the history of the house and the widow, and also that of the Corelli heiress (Valli; she had dropped the `Alida'), a lonely rich girl crippled in a skiing accident. He hopes to romance her so as to be sitting pretty for the rest of his days – his ultimate con job. But he ends up falling for her.

Cotten's Achilles heel, however, has always been his professional vanity, and he can't pass up one last job – robbing a mob boss of his casino's take. The job succeeds, but his certified loser of an accomplice (Paul Stewart), now down and out, tracks him down and blows both their covers. They're both marked men....

Walk Softly, Stranger, opts for a bittersweet, romantic ending rather than a terminal blow-out, and that's in keeping with all that goes before. But problems remain. Cotten's performance reminds us, in its watered-down way, of his Uncle Charlie in Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt, while Valli has little to do but stay tragically, enigmatically glamorous. (The most memorable performances come from Byington and Stewart, and the movie is notable for preserving one of the few appearances on film of Jack Paar, who was to imprint The Tonight Show with his particular personality in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s). It's a strange, flawed movie whose elegiac tone stays with you.


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