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 »
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1 win. See more awards »

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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 ... Senator Burnett
Pamela Blake ... Annie
Frank Ferguson ... Albert Baker
Victor Kilian ... Drew
Patricia Farr ... Ruby
Harry Shannon ... Steve Finnerty
Charles C. Wilson ... Police Captain
Mikhail Rasumny ... Slukey
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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>

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Taglines:

IT'LL BLAST YOU OUT OF YOUR SEAT...AND MAKE YOUR HAIR STAND ON END! (print ad - Lubbock Evening Journal - Midway Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - March 28, 1947 - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The headquarters of the fictional Nitro Chemical Company was actually the now demolished Richfield Tower, located at 555 S. Flower Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The beautiful Art Deco, black and gold terra cotta clad building, housed the Richfield Oil Company before it merged with the Atlantic Refining Company in 1966, becoming the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO). The building was considered too small after the merger and the decision to demolish the beloved building was made, despite the protest of Angelenos. It was demolished in 1969, making room for the current City National Plaza. See more »

Goofs

In the scene early in the movie where Raven shoots through the door to kill the female witness, the slide on his 1903 model Colt pocket automatic doesn't cycle and no empty cartridge is ejected, indicating that the pistol was loaded with a low-powered blank. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Annie: It's after 2:00. Can I come in now?
[pause]
Annie: Hey, you in or aren't ya?
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Connections

Referenced in Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Swan Lake, Scene II, No. 10
(uncredited)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
[Played during dinner at Willard Gates' house]
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User Reviews

 
I like Cats! So says the icy cold broken wrist killer!
4 March 2008 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Phillip Raven is a hit man of no obvious moral fibre, he literally will kill anyone for the right price. After fulfilling a contract for the chocolate munching Willard Gates, he finds himself pursued by the law on account that he was paid by Gates with stolen money. Raven sets out for the ultimate revenge and dovetailing towards the explosive finale with him is sultry conjurer Ellen Graham and honest cop Michael Crane.

Based on the Graham Greene novel A Gun For Sale, this is not a straight out adaptation, the plot has been re-jigged with very impressive results. The most enlightening thing I found when reading up on the film was that the studio were so blown away by the efforts of Alan Ladd as Raven, they turned the script around to make him the films chief axis, and boy what a smart move that was for this is Alan Ladd's show all the way.

Ladd plays Raven with brilliant icy veneer, he's cold and devoid of emotion, his only trip to anything resembling caring is an affinity to cats because in his own words, "cats don't need anyone, they are on their own, just like me", the result is one of the most unnerving killers put on to the 40s cinema screens. Veronica Lake is the stunning female of the piece, she glides through the picture with ease as Ellen, a character with her own issues, but thankfully she's integral outside of any sort of romantic plot, even though she is the only one who gets close enough to Raven to learn anything about what makes him tick.

Robert Preston as Michael Crane was to be the pics focus but he becomes a mere side part thanks to Ladd's barnstorming show, and unsurprisingly Laird Cregar is suitably shifty as Gates. It's a fine film in its own right, it's tightly filmed, wonderfully scripted and contains a great noir ending, but ultimately it's all about the cold as death hit-man Raven, and the great performance by the man who played him. 8.5/10


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 May 1942 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

This Gun for Hire See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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