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16 user 2 critic

Behind Green Lights (1946)

Police lieutenant Sam Carson investigates a political murder after the victim is dumped at the door of police headquarters.

Director:

Otto Brower

Writers:

Scott Darling (original screenplay) (as W. Scott Darling), Charles G. Booth (original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Carole Landis ... Janet Bradley
William Gargan ... Lt. Sam Carson
Richard Crane ... Johnny Williams - Reporter
Mary Anderson ... Nora Bard
John Ireland ... Det. Oppenheimer
Charles Russell ... Arthur Templeton
Roy Roberts ... Max Calvert
Mabel Paige ... Flossie
Stanley Prager ... Ruzinsky - Milkman
Charles Tannen ... Ames - Reporter
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Storyline

Police lieutenant Sam Carson investigates a political murder after the victim is dumped at the door of police headquarters.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

police | murder | color in title | See All (3) »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 February 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Audácia de Criminoso See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox 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?

Goofs

If the corpse when moved from the gurney to the closet was in a state of rigor mortis, it wouldn't have been pliable at all (the arm moved, for one thing). See more »

Quotes

Johnny Williams: Gosh. I hope I don't pull any boners.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The World Famous Kid Detective (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brisk and workmanlike police procedural notable chiefly for noirish edge
20 December 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

A police-procedural mystery that's about halfway to film noir but comes up short, Behind Green Lights takes place entirely during a single night in a midwestern city (stockyards are mentioned; Kansas City? Chicago?). A car rolls up to the green globes of a police station, holding the murdered body of a private investigator who dabbled in blackmail. Asked in for questioning is Carole Landis, daughter of a mayoral candidate, who had been in the extortionist's apartment earlier that evening. Though other suspects emerge, the ink-stained wretches on the police beat smell a scoop: If Landis is convicted in the press, it will swing the election that's just a few days off.

Its view of the press as partisan, corrupt and unprincipled is the most unusual aspect of Behind Green Lights. It assumes (in this case rightly) that the newspapers have mercenary minions stowed throughout the city government. The medical officer (Don Beddoe) clearly takes his orders not from night-shift boss William Gargan but from a sleazy tabloid's editor-in-chief (Roy Roberts). On his instructions, he substitutes victim's body for a John Doe's after he discovers that the murder weapon was poisoned Bourbon, not the gunshot that would implicate Landis. (This switching around of corpses introduces an antic element of slapstick from which the movie never quite recovers.)

But the pervasive corruption of big-town politics remains oddly matter-of-fact, never developed into an indictment or accepted as a grim given of mid-twentieth-century American life; it's just a plot point. (The movie also has to work around the central presence of the charisma-free Gargan, while John Ireland is wasted as his assistant.) It wraps up neatly, leaving little atmosphere behind (Mabel Paige as a flower vendor stays the most memorable character). Still, it has a brisk pace and professional look - both indoor and outdoor scenes have a dark, noirish shine, thanks to director of photography Joe MacDonald, who would go on to light many worthy noirs - and leaves one wishing that it had been just a little bit longer and a little bit better.


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