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The Glass Wall (1953)

 -  Drama  -  31 July 1953 (Finland)
6.9
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Peter, a WW II 'displaced person' about to be deported jumps ship in New York harbor in an effort to find an ex-G.I named Tom whom he helped during the war and can prove Peter's right to ... See full summary »

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Title: The Glass Wall (1953)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Peter Kaban
...
Maggie Summers
...
Nancy
Douglas Spencer ...
Inspector Bailey
Robin Raymond ...
Tanya aka Bella Zakoyla
...
Tom
Elizabeth Slifer ...
Mrs. Hinckley - Landlady
Richard Reeves ...
Eddie Hinckley
...
Freddie Zakoyla (as Joseph Turkel)
Else Bäck ...
Mrs. Zakoyla (as Else Neft)
Michael Fox ...
Inspector Toomey / Narrator
...
Monroe - Taxi Driver (as Ned Booth)
...
Zelda - Fat Woman
Juney Ellis ...
Girl friend
Jack Teagarden ...
Musician
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Storyline

Peter, a WW II 'displaced person' about to be deported jumps ship in New York harbor in an effort to find an ex-G.I named Tom whom he helped during the war and can prove Peter's right to legal entry in the United States. It is a race against time for if he can't Tom within 24 hours and prove his case, he will be branded a fugitive and will be permanently disqualified for U.S. citizenship. His quest leads him to befriending Maggie, a down-on-her-luck factory worker whom he rejuvenates through his good faith; a visit to a jazz club where Shorty Rogers and his band and trombonist Jack Teagarden are playing, and an interlude with a good- hearted burlesque dancer, Tanya Zakoyla, takes him to her mother's home for food and rest. The climax comes at dawn in the United Nations building (the "glass wall" of the title) where he goes to plead his case and that of all displaced persons. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE 10-HOUR MANHUNT...that tore New York apart!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 July 1953 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Die gläserne Mauer  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1953, Columbia Pictures distributed this film on a double bill with Jack McCall, Desperado (1953) starring George Montgomery. See more »

Goofs

The lights on the elevator floor indicator show that the elevator in United Nations building seem to travel 36 floors in three to five seconds. That kind of acceleration, speed, and braking would injure any occupants of the elevator; especially the elderly operator. That distance in that period of time would equate to almost sixty miles per hour. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Zakoyla: Don't forget, your dead father was a lousy foreigner!
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User Reviews

 
A vividly raffish New York City comes to life in Maxwell Shane's overlooked message movie
28 February 2004 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

A pungent period flavor of post-war New York elevates Maxwell Shane's The Glass Wall. If it's not quite noir (its idealism disqualifies it), it sure looks and feels like noir. As well it should, coming from the writer/director of those unambiguous noirs Fear in the Night (1947) and its remake Nightmare (1956).

In his first American film, Vittorio Gassman plays a stateless stowaway who's caught before his ship sails into New York harbor. Detained by immigration authorities, who won't believe his story that he qualifies for special consideration for aiding the Allies during the war, he's due to be returned to Trieste and certain death. But he jumps from the deck onto the docks, smashing his ribs, and starts stumbling around the city looking for the G.I. who can vouch for him (Jerry Paris). All Gassman knows is Paris' first name, and that he plays clarinet somewhere near Times Square (when we catch up with Paris, he's auditioning for Jack Teagarden's band).

During his nocturnal search, he runs into Gloria Grahame, who's very down on her luck. A sharp little minx who used to affix the tips to shoelaces for a living, now she steals coats from Automats (it's one of her more captivating performances). Grahame's at first wary of Gassman but quickly won over – his tale of woe makes her troubles look paltry, and he's the first guy to treat her decently. So she lets him hide out in her garret room (his escape makes the front pages) and helps him search for his old pal.

There's a beat-the-clock element that keeps the story moving: Gassman doesn't know that Paris has seen the tabloids and will vouch for him – or that his options will expire at dawn. And Shane stews the path with obstacles as well as with good Samaritans (Robin Raymond as a stripper with a heart of gold – another `Hunkie' – touchingly among them).

As the sky lightens, the desperate Gassman reaches the place he thinks will be his salvation: The forbidding `glass wall' of Wallace K. Harrison's just-completed United Nations Headquarters. But the building's empty of all but janitors, and Gassman still doesn't know that he's still safe....

The Glass Wall's a modest movie that overcomes the handicaps of its dated and idealistic `message' to succeed as a well told and acted human interest story. But it triumphs in its presentation of mid-20th-century Manhattan, as vividly raffish as in any movie of its period.


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