6.9/10
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The Glass Wall (1953)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 31 July 1953 (Finland)
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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Peter Kaban
...
Maggie Summers
...
Nancy
Douglas Spencer ...
Inspector Bailey
...
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
Nesdon Booth ...
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 | Film-Noir

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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the beginning of the trailer, Shelley Winters is shown and her name is displayed to introduce audiences to her then-husband, Vittorio Gassman on his American debut. Winters isn't otherwise involved in the movie. 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!
See more »

Connections

References Bugles in the Afternoon (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"We've Got to Find Him Before His Ship Embarks"
2 June 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm no authority on the film noir genre, but Glass Wall had enough of the elements as I understand them -- gritty, urban streets; smoky, downstairs jazz rooms; beaten-down characters with nothing to lose; an urban milieu that suggests a struggle for existence; and the overbearing presence of authority -- to be a very satisfying film for me. The plot is simple, has elements of suspense, and is a bit contrived at times, particularly near the end, but I found it easily sustained my interest throughout the film. In a nutshell, a Hungarian refugee, Peter Kaban, who has stowed away on a ship docked in New York's port, is denied entry, and thus escapes into the streets of NYC where he must find the man (now a club musician) whose life as a soldier he saved in Europe during the war, and he must find him before the immigration authorities, supplemented by the police, find him, and before 7:00 AM the next day when the ship leaves port and his legal status becomes such that he would then never receive legal permission for entry into the U.S. New York's gritty survivors either aid him or exploit him, and nobody's life looks easy.

Much of the film, particularly the street scenes, were said to be filmed with hidden cameras, and that touch gives an active, life-like realism to Glass Wall. The city looks so vibrant and active at night with the various types of humanity jostling each other for a good time, companionship, or just simple survival, economic or otherwise. Vittorio Gassman plays the Kaban role, and perhaps he looks too delicately good-looking to suggest the utter determination of his character as he roams the streets of New York, while severely injured and harassed by almost everyone, to prevent deportation back to Hungary; but for sure,a handsome face on a character hardened by concentration camp experiences can mask an iron will. You have to root for Peter Kaban because despite the horrendous experiences of his brief life, his personality retains a decency and kindness that eventually wins over his initial, also desperate, female accomplice and also helps with his other female helper. Eight points for making Times Square look again to be a social magnet on what has to be a bustling Saturday night!


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