The Scarf (1951)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller  |  6 April 1951 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 186 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 2 critic

A man believe to have murdered a woman, escapes from the insane asylum to find if he was the one to actually kill her using the scarf she was wearing.


(as E.A. Dupont)


(story) (as I.G. Goldsmith) , (story) (as Edwin Rolfe) , 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Howard Barrington
Connie Carter
James Barton ...
Ezra Thompson
Emlyn Williams ...
Dr. David Dunbar
Lloyd Gough ...
Asylum Dr. Gordon
Basil Ruysdael ...
Cyrus Barrington
David Wolfe ...
Level Louie
Harry Shannon ...
Asylum Warden Anderson
Mrs. Cyrus Barrington
State Trooper (as Dave McMahon)
Chubby Johnson ...
Feed Store Manager
Frank Jenks ...
Tom - Drunk cowboy
Emmett Lynn ...
Jack the Waiter
Dick Wessel ...
Sid - Drunk cowboy
Frank Jaquet ...
Town Sheriff


John Barrington escapes from an asylum for the criminally-insane and finds refuge on the ranch of turkey-raiser Ezra Thompson. Barrington, who has suffered from amnesia, finds his memory returning slightly and he sets out on his mission of learning the truth about whether or not he really murdered his sweetheart and is actually insane. He goes to Los Angeles to visit his oldest-and-best friend, psychiatrist David Dunbar, who was a witness to Barrington's crime. Dunbar repeats his story to Barrington, convinces Barrington that he did commit the crime, and then betrays him to the police. However, Thompson, Connie Carter and others are not totally convinced of Barrington's guilt. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

6 April 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Dungeon  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ezra Thompson: Before a bullet every man is equal, right as in the Constitution!
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Summer Rains
Written by Sammy John DeFazio, Herschel Burke Gilbert (uncredited)
Charles Milton Daniel and Gilbert Hugh Hall
Sung by Mercedes McCambridge (dubbed by ?)
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User Reviews

Rare appearances by McCambridge, Ireland redeem far-fetched noir
5 July 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Two years after appearing in All The King's Men, John Ireland and Mercedes McCambridge reunite in The Scarf. Talented actors both, neither of them would enjoy, in number or in quality, movie roles commensurate with their gifts. A recondite find today, The Scarf could hardly have been much less so in 1951; under the `Gloria Productions' imprint, it fell to a German-born director of little reputation, E.A. Dupont.

But while not every emigrant from middle Europe was a Fritz Lang or Robert Siodmak or Billy Wilder, most had tradition behind them and a touch of inspiration, like John Brahm and Edgar G. Ulmer – and even Dupont. Though The Scarf starts off dead slow – a long, quasi-philosophical dialogue between a turkey-ranching hermit in the California desert (James Barton) and an escapee from an asylum for the criminally insane who has sought refuge with him (Ireland) – soon enough the movie picks up its pace and shows flashes of originality and style. The cinematography is by Frank (Franz) Planer, another refugee steeped in Expressionism who had behind, and ahead of, him several noirs.

Not coincidentally, the quickened pace comes with McCambridge's arrival, as a singing bar waitress who hitches a ride with Ireland. With her distinctive organ-pipe voice and her instinct for biting off her lines clean, she brings both quirkiness and force to this standard role (tough gal, good heart). Though some of her best known roles showed noir influences (All The King's Men, Johnny Guitar) she only appeared in two obscure noirs (Lightning Strikes Twice was the other). The cycle is poorer for her rarity.

The Scarf's plot, alas, falls under the rubric far-fetched. It involves Ireland's not quite remembering the crime for which he was committed – strangling a girl with her scarf – and a sinister psychologist ( Emlyn Williams) somehow in the employ of Ireland's powerful father. Dupont can't do much with the bulk of it (who could?), but along the way sneaks in some arresting sequences. The best occurs when McCambridge has been ordered to leave town on the 11 p.m. bus for Los Angeles; as she vacillates, looking down the dark road at the sign reading `sheriff's station,' it turns into a lure for her to sell out Ireland for the reward on his head, with `$5000" spelled out in beckoning neon.

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