7.5/10
6,958
77 user 56 critic

This Gun for Hire (1942)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 19 June 1942 (USA)
When assassin Philip Raven shoots a blackmailer and his beautiful female companion dead, he is paid off in marked bills by his treasonous employer who is working with foreign spies.

Director:

Frank Tuttle

Writers:

Albert Maltz (screen play), W.R. Burnett (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An ex-bomber pilot is suspected of murdering his unfaithful wife.

Director: George Marshall
Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix
The Glass Key (1942)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A crooked politician finds himself being accused of murder by a gangster from whom he refused help during a re-election campaign.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Brian Donlevy
Criss Cross (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An armored truck driver and his lovely ex-wife conspire with a gang to have his own truck robbed on the route.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After being hired to find an ex-con's former girlfriend, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Why is Inspector Ed Cornell trying to railroad Frankie Christopher for the murder of model Vicky Lynn?

Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
Stars: Betty Grable, Victor Mature, Carole Landis
The Big Clock (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After murdering someone, a magazine tycoon tries to frame an unknown, innocent man of the murder instead, while the innocent man tries to solve the murder himself.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, Charles Laughton
Phantom Lady (1944)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A devoted secretary risks her life to try to find the elusive woman who may prove her boss didn't murder his selfish wife.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Franchot Tone, Ella Raines, Alan Curtis
Certificate: Passed Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The rise and fall of Stanton Carlisle, a mentalist whose lies and deceit prove to be his downfall.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray
The Big Steal (1949)
Crime | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An army lieutenant accused of robbery pursues the real thief on a frantic chase through Mexico aided by the thief's fiancee.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix
Crossfire (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A man is murdered, apparently by one of a group of demobilized soldiers he met in a bar. But which one? And why?

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan
The Killers (1946)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien
Saigon (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After WW2, two army buddies, one of them terminally-ill, embark on a series of adventures in South-East Asia and run across a dangerous criminal and his pretty secretary.

Director: Leslie Fenton
Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Douglas Dick
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Veronica Lake ... Ellen Graham
Robert Preston ... Michael Crane
Laird Cregar ... Willard Gates
Alan Ladd ... Philip Raven
Tully Marshall ... Alvin Brewster
Marc Lawrence ... Tommy
Olin Howland ... Blair Fletcher (as Olin Howlin)
Roger Imhof Roger Imhof ... Senator Burnett
Pamela Blake ... Annie
Frank Ferguson ... Albert Baker
Victor Kilian Victor Kilian ... Drew
Patricia Farr ... Ruby
Harry Shannon ... Steve Finnerty
Charles C. Wilson ... Police Captain
Mikhail Rasumny ... Slukey
Edit

Storyline

Hit man Philip Raven, who's kind to children and cats, kills a blackmailer and is paid off by traitor Willard Gates in "hot" money. Meanwhile, pert entertainer Ellen Graham, girlfriend of police Lieut. Crane (who's after Raven) is enlisted by a Senate committee to help investigate Gates. Raven, seeking Gates for revenge, meets Ellen on the train; their relationship gradually evolves from that of killer and potential victim to an uneasy alliance against a common enemy. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Lover without a heart...killer without a conscience! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 June 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Narbenhand See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$12,000,000, 31 December 1942
See more on IMDbPro »

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 2, 1945 with Alan Ladd reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

When Michael Crane leaves Willard Gates' residence (at around 45 mins) only about a second, an impossibly short period of time, elapses between his stepping outside the house and the sound of his car driving away. See more »

Quotes

Philip Raven: [Ellen is wrapping a handkerchief around Raven's wrist] That's enough.
Ellen Graham: You're a funny guy. You like my doing that, but you won't admit it.
Philip Raven: That's sucker talk.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Dangerous Edge: A Life of Graham Greene (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Now You See It, Now You Don't
(1942) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Music by Jacques Press
Performed by Veronica Lake (dubbed by Martha Mears)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Digging below the surface...
25 January 2001 | by keihanSee all my reviews

My first glimpse of this film was in "L.A. Confidential", where Kim Basinger, a Veronica Lake look-alike hooker (I'm totally in agreement with Russell Crowe's character when he comments that Basinger looks better than Veronica Lake), has the movie playing in the background during the train scene. Having finally watched the whole thing, I can easily see why Curtis Hansen and Brian Helgaland gave "This Gun For Hire" that respectful tip of the hat.

It is obvious that this was made during WWII from its references to the overseas menace, but I personally wouldn't let such politics get in the way of enjoying and understanding this movie. To do that, one must focus on the character of Raven (as played by Alan Ladd), a vicious, detached hitman with a soft spot for kids and cats...but no friends. He doesn't kill because it's fun for him; it's just a job. He does live by his own code, a major tenet of which is never to doublecross him. One thing that seems to sail right over people's heads is the fact that Raven is the product of an abused childhood. That such a defining bit made it to the screen (and that the abuser was female) should tell one how little audiences paid attention to such things, in spite of the fact that such were not and are still not isolated incidents.

Patriotism does not motivate Raven in the slightest, just his own self interest. The reason he eventually does what he does has more to do with Veronica Lake, probably the only friend he has ever truly had. I almost wonder if, in her, he sees the mother that he never truly had...but one can also write that one off as Freudian BS so make of it what you will. One thing that shouldn't be ignored, on the other hand, is the fact that, but for a lucky distraction, he would have plugged her to leave less of a trail. It's only when she refuses to hand him over to his enemies that their strange friendship really begins. All this makes Raven one of the most unromantic, unglamourous hard-boiled protagonists that have made it to screen.

Now, as to Ms. Lake, the thing that struck me about her was how unglamourous SHE was here. I don't mean that as an insult, mind, just that she seemed to share a characteristic with Kathrine Hepburn in that comparing her with the other sex goddesses of the time would be like comparing the moon to the sun. As is fitting with the story, she strikes one as being more motherly rather than gun moll material. Not that she can't bring the house down; her opening song-and-magic routine is one of the great all-time showstoppers. In fact, the only time I really had cause to hate her is when she gets into the arms of her cop fiancee and says "Hold me." at the end, but it's a minor complaint. Had there been a more radiant actress, the whole thing would have fallen apart. As it is, she fits perfectly.

Don't let the overt mobilization messages distract you. "This Gun For Hire" has a lot more on its mind that's still with us today.


24 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 77 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed