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The Man Who Wouldn't Talk (1940)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 23 January 1940 (USA)
A man involved in a crime (Nolan) kills his key witness by mistake and resigns himself to death. He changes his name so as not to harm his family. The law is not content with his ... See full summary »


David Burton


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Complete credited cast:
Lloyd Nolan ... Joe Monday
Jean Rogers ... Alice Stetson
Richard Clarke Richard Clarke ... Steve Phillips
Onslow Stevens ... Frederick Keller
Eric Blore ... Horace Parker
Joan Valerie ... Miss Norton
Mae Marsh ... Mrs. Stetson
Paul Stanton ... Attorney Cluett
Douglas Wood Douglas Wood ... Walker
Irving Bacon ... Paul Gillis
Lester Sharpe ... Henri Picot (as Lester Scharff)
Harlan Briggs ... Foreman in Jury
Elisabeth Risdon ... Jury Member (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Renie Riano ... Lilly Wigham


A man involved in a crime (Nolan) kills his key witness by mistake and resigns himself to death. He changes his name so as not to harm his family. The law is not content with his explanation, however. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on play | See All (1) »


WHO is the man without a past?... WHAT secret sealed his lips?


Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El valiente See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Told that he might wind up in the electric chair, Joe Monday says he once heard a coward dies a thousand times. He's paraphrasing William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar"--"A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come." See more »


Remake of The Valiant (1929) See more »

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User Reviews

The film that wouldn't surprise
19 November 2014 | by AAdaSCSee all my reviews

Lloyd Nolan (Joe Monday) is put on trial for the murder of Onslow Stevens (Keller). As the title suggests, Nolan doesn't give much away, especially his true identity. Jean Rogers (Alice Stetson) identifies Nolan as her brother who was presumed dead from the 1st World War. However, he denies this. Just who is the mysterious Joe Monday? And why has he shot Stevens?

Well, after a few poem recitals, I think we all know who Joe Monday is. And I found that to be a problem with the film. It deprives us of any sort of surprise – we all know who he is. The title of the film sets the audience up for some kind of mystery concerning a man who won't talk and what his true identity is. We have a man who won't talk, but no mystery as to who he is. Fail.

The story as it unfurls isn't too bad, although everything about it is predictable. The cast are fine and Nolan leads the proceedings well. But, Rogers and her poems……oh dear me….. Here's a childhood poem that I remember – There was a man called Bill, who swallowed the atomic pill, his penis corroded, his arsehole exploded, and his balls ended up in Brazil. Now, that's a proper childhood poem - not the namby pamby nonsense spouted by Rogers.

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