6.5/10
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9 user 6 critic

Street of Chance (1942)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | 3 October 1942 (USA)
After an accident, a New York man with amnesia finds out the ugly truth about his real identity and past by interacting with people who seem to know him well.

Director:

Jack Hively

Writers:

Garrett Fort (screenplay), Cornell Woolrich (based on a story)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Burgess Meredith ... Frank Thompson
Claire Trevor ... Ruth Dillon
Louise Platt ... Virginia Thompson
Sheldon Leonard ... Joe Marruci
Frieda Inescort ... Alma Diedrich
Jerome Cowan ... Bill Diedrich
Adeline De Walt Reynolds ... Grandma Diedrich
Arthur Loft ... Sheriff Lew Stebbins
Clancy Cooper ... Burke
Paul Phillips Paul Phillips ... Schoeder
Keith Richards ... Intern
Ann Doran ... Miss Peabody
Cliff Clark ... Ryan, (Policeman)
Edwin Maxwell ... Stillwell, D.A.
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Storyline

A nerd discovers he's wanted for murder, after escaping death from wreckage plummeting from a skyscraper. Passerby Frank Thompson wakes up in the street, believing it's his lucky day, then rushes home to be told that he left his wife a year ago, with no explanation. Raven-haired Virginia is thrilled to have her sexy geek back in one piece. But as fearsome Danny Nearing, the amnesiac's the target of a city-wide manhunt. Thompson's forced onto a black path of fear, delving for the truth about his lost year, and his sudden amnesia which almost caused his bride to wear black. For the past year, as Nearing, he's carried on a torrid affair with a phantom lady, sexy blonde Ruth Dillon, who has no intention of letting him go back to the wife he claims he has. Is he the brutal killer ? The meek Thompson can't believe that, but how can he counter overwhelming evidence, when he's a small man lost behind a black curtain ? Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 October 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Black Curtain See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its initial television broadcasts took place in Chicago Tuesday 6 January 1959 on WBBM (Channel 2), followed by New York City Friday 30 January 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2); in Detroit it first aired 22 September 1959 on WJBK (Channel 2), in Pittsburgh 7 October 1959 on KDKA (Channel 2), in Milwaukee 13 October 1959 on WITI (Channel 6), and in Omaha 19 November 1959 on KETV (Channel 7). See more »

Connections

Version of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Black Curtain (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
early noir with amnesia angle
8 May 2005 | by goblinhairedguySee all my reviews

Paramount's "Street of Chance" is an early, and certainly not full-fledged, entry in the film noir canon. It qualifies mainly for being based on a work by that master of paranoia and cruel fate, Cornell Woolrich -- using the familiar amnesia premise to trigger the protagonist's alienation -- and by its oppressively moody low-key lighting. The first few reels offer a true noir milieu of urban angst and displacement -- the hero, injured by falling construction material, discovers a year-long lapse in his life -- and worse, he's suspected of murder and has a completely unremembered lover in addition to his puzzled wife. As the film progresses and he narrows in on the truth, it resolves itself into something closer to Gothic melodrama, with a more traditional view of human transgression and frailty. The blending of the two genres is reminiscent of the studio's "Among the Living" from the previous year rather than the out-and-out noirs "This Gun For Hire" and "The Glass Key" of its own release year.

Paramount's B-picture unit offered a higher degree of professionalism than most, reflected by the fine level of performance and technical achievement here. Burgess Meredith's lead character is far too benign to be a true Woolrichian anti-hero, but Claire Trevor shows underlying tinges of femme-fatalité which would serve her well later in her career. Lower-rank director Jack Hively contributes a few visual cachets, particularly the unexpected discovery of a pivotal character lurking in the background, and an over-the-transom tracking shot to end the picture that is almost Antonioniesque. Unfortunately, he doesn't milk the character conflict for much intensity, and the denouement is disappointingly soft.


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