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Key Witness (1960)

Approved | | Drama, Mystery, Crime | 6 October 1960 (USA)
An average Los Angeles citizen witnesses a gang murder when he stops to use a telephone. Aware that he is the only witness against them, the gang members seek out his identity and terrorize... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Fred Morrow
...
Ann Morrow
...
William 'Cowboy' Tomkins
...
Muggles
Susan Harrison ...
Ruby
Johnny Nash ...
Apple
...
Magician
...
Det. Rafael Torno
Bruce Gordon ...
Arthur Robbins
Terry Burnham ...
Gloria Morrow
Dennis Holmes ...
Phil Morrow
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hilda Haynes ...
Apple's Mother (unconfirmed)
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Storyline

An average Los Angeles citizen witnesses a gang murder when he stops to use a telephone. Aware that he is the only witness against them, the gang members seek out his identity and terrorize him and his family to keep him from testifying against them. Only by psychologically playing one gang member against the others is the man able to bring the police to his rescue. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE YOUNG PUNKS...and RUBY WHO WAS THEIR GIRL! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Crime

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 October 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Wölfe von Los Angeles  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is often considered to be the first neo-noir. See more »

Quotes

Muggles: Hello temptress.
Ruby: Temptress? You read that in a comic book.
See more »

Soundtracks

Leatherjacket Cowboy
Written by Charles Wolcott
Performed by Charles Wolcott conducting the MGM Studio Orchestra
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User Reviews

 
Blandness in Cinemascope
20 August 2002 | by (Out there in the dark) – See all my reviews

A rather disappointing minor entry, "Key Witness"(1960) directed by none other than PHIL KARLSON (of the superb "Kansas City Confidential", "Scandal Sheet" and "99 River Street"), is a Cinemascoped-up second-rate b-movie. Utterly conventional in most ways, this film is a let down from start to finish. Its worst offense is what might be called the "pulled punch"--all scenes of action or violence are done through editing away from the actual moment, then cutting back to its aftermath. The whole film just seems like a routine exercise. On the good side: the jazz score by Charles Wolcott--listenable, if a bit repetitive.

In the cast--

Jeffrey Hunter: giving here what may be among his better performances. He seems emotionally involved in his noir situation as the victimized witness to a stabbing.

Pat Crowley: bland as his near-hysterical wife

Frank Silvera: best performer in the film, as a tenacious police detective

The Thugs are played by:

Dennis Hopper--not one of his better moments, overacted out the wahzoo

Susan Harrison--miscast (too delicate and nice) as the moll, yes THAT Susan Harrison of "Sweet Smell of Success" and the barrel-bottom ballerina from 'The Twilight Zone'

Johnny "I Can See Clearly Now" Nash: not at all bad for a singer-turned-actor

Joby Baker: staple of TV and movies from this period, actually does an interesting turn as a jive-talking junkie-type

Ted Knight: uncredited as Hopper's lawyer.

A must-see for Karlson, Hopper and Hunter completest.


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