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The Glass Wall (1953) More at IMDbPro »


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Down 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Ivan Tors (screenplay) and
Maxwell Shane (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Glass Wall on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
31 July 1953 (Finland) See more »
THE 10-HOUR MANHUNT...that tore New York apart!
Peter, a WW II 'displaced person' about to be deported jumps ship in New York harbor in an effort to... See more » | Add synopsis »
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Terrific most of the time, and terrible in little spurts. It has the UN, jazz, and Grahame! See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order)

Vittorio Gassman ... Peter Kaban

Gloria Grahame ... Maggie Summers

Ann Robinson ... Nancy
Douglas Spencer ... Inspector Bailey
Robin Raymond ... Tanya aka Bella Zakoyla

Jerry Paris ... Tom
Elizabeth Slifer ... Mrs. Hinckley - Landlady
Richard Reeves ... Eddie Hinckley

Joe Turkel ... 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)

Kathleen Freeman ... Zelda - Fat Woman
Juney Ellis ... Girl friend
Jack Teagarden ... Musician

Shorty Rogers ... Himself - Band Leader
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Collier ... Giggling Man in Arcade (uncredited)
Sayre Dearing ... Nightclub Extra (uncredited)
Roy Engel ... Police News Broadcaster (uncredited)
Sam Finn ... Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
Alvin Freeman ... Street Dancer (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp ... Dock Inspector (uncredited)
Lou Krugman ... Club Manager (uncredited)
Joseph Mell ... Musician in Men's Room (uncredited)
Frank Mills ... Taxi Driver's Pal (uncredited)
Richard Monda ... Louis - Street Dancer (uncredited)
Dorothy Neumann ... Zelda's Friend (uncredited)
Barney Phillips ... Police Lieutenant Reeves (uncredited)

'Snub' Pollard ... Man in Alley with Tall Showgirl (uncredited)
Valerie Vernon ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Directed by
Maxwell Shane 
Writing credits
Ivan Tors (screenplay) and
Maxwell Shane (screenplay)

Produced by
Ben Coleman .... associate producer (as Ben Colman)
Ivan Tors .... producer
Original Music by
Leith Stevens 
Cinematography by
Joseph F. Biroc 
Film Editing by
Stanley Frazen 
Herbert L. Strock 
Production Design by
George Van Marter 
Art Direction by
Serge Krizman 
Production Management
C.M. Florance .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ben Berk .... assistant director: New York unit
Richard Dixon .... assistant director
Sound Department
William A. Wilmarth .... sound
Special Effects by
David Commons .... special effects
Jack Rabin .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Bobby Jones .... lighting effects (as Robert Jones)
Editorial Department
Stanley Frazen .... supervising editor
Music Department
Gus Levene .... orchestrator (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
82 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Did You Know?

Ann Robinson's first credited film.See more »
Audio/visual unsynchronized: During his first solo, trombonist Jack Teagarden's hand movements don't match the music on the soundtrack.See more »
Mrs. Zakoyla:Don't forget, your dead father was a lousy foreigner!See more »


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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Terrific most of the time, and terrible in little spurts. It has the UN, jazz, and Grahame!, 3 March 2011
Author: secondtake from United States

The Glass Wall (1953)

A great idea, and two great leads--Gloria Grahame as a down and out single girl and Vittoria Gassman as a Eastern European illegal immigrant. And one mediocre directing job--by Maxwell Shane. I had just seen another Shane film that was pretty good, with some great performances ("The Naked Street" with a terrific Anthony Quinn) so I was looking forward to this. It has a great theme (facing the immigration system) and it turns our attention to the new world presence for justice, the United Nations. It also features some real musicians--Jack Teagarden and Shorty Rogers--and one straight small combo big band jazz number. (I put it that way because by 1953 the real scene in New York was bebop, this this style predates it.)

So, the best parts of this movie are terrific, mainly the middle section where the two leads help each other and start to fall in love, with hints of an urban "They Live by Night" in mood. But there are parts where you can't help but laugh, because they are either so improbable or the editing and acting is ridiculously off key. Director Shane also co-wrote this adventure, and here there are hiccups, too, even down to the central premise of a man facing deportation even though he has nowhere to go and has been on the run for a decade. For one, it's hard to believe the immigration laws were so blindly inflexible, but let's say they were. They have the reputation. But certainly New York City wouldn't get turned upside down for one man, not considered dangerous, who has slipped from custody. There are APBs and front page photos and a general panic on the order of Son of Sam.

But we understand the dilemma anyway. It's one man against the system, and that's always an easy one for choosing sides. Grahame plays a woman on the outs with great sympathy and conviction, and she's just the kind of hardened, soft-hearted girl you'd want to fall in with if you were on the lam. And the ending, as badly directed and edited as it is (you'll see), is pure Hitchcock for its setting and high drama. We are taken inside the new United Nations building called the Secretariat in Manhattan (the International Style Le Corbusier skyscraper was finished in 1952), in what must be the first Hollywood movie to do so (and perhaps the last in this manner until "The Interpreter" in 2005, the site being secret and guarded enough that Hitchcock himself in 1958 had to use a model instead of the real location).

This is one case where someone could re-edit it and have something of a minor gem, with high points making it worth the effort. As it is, the speed bumps are nearly fatal.

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