6.6/10
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Crack-Up (1946)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 6 September 1946 (USA)
Art curator George Steele experiences a train wreck...which never happened. Is he cracking up, or the victim of a plot?

Director:

Irving Reis
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Pat O'Brien ... George Steele
Claire Trevor ... Terry Cordell
Herbert Marshall ... Traybin
Ray Collins ... Dr. Lowell
Wallace Ford ... Lt. Cochrane
Dean Harens ... Reynolds
Damian O'Flynn ... Stevenson
Erskine Sanford ... Barton
Mary Ware ... Mary
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Storyline

George Steele, art curator at a small museum, has an apparent mental breakdown one night, convinced he was in a train wreck...which never happened. In flashback, shortly after proposing to x-ray some old master paintings the museum has on loan, Steele is called on an unplanned nocturnal train trip. He suddenly sees another train ahead, speeding toward his... Is George indeed cracking up, or is there a plot to discredit him? The mystery grows murky with shadowy menace... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SHATTERED MEMORY...HAUNTING FEAR! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 September 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Galveston See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Set largely around Manhattan Museum, Lt. Cochrane warns Steele he's "liable to wind up in Bellevue!". This is a reference to another Manhattan institution, the Bellevue Hospital Center (the oldest public hospital in the United States, founded in 1736). See more »

Goofs

A person self admittedly obsessed with art would not have a picture on the wall that is double in size to the original. Vermeer's 'Woman with pearl necklace' is only 55 cm high and in the movie it is over one meter high. See more »

Quotes

Terry Cordell: Wouldn't it be smarter to go to Cochrane and get this thing out in the open?
George Steele: About as smart as cutting my throat to get some fresh air.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Narrow Margin (1952) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Film noir at an art museum
8 March 2011 | by jimjo1216See all my reviews

A thriller in the popular post-war noir style, CRACK-UP (1946) is not a top-grade film noir, but it does incorporate some interesting ideas, like x-raying paintings to determine if they are forgeries.

Pat O'Brien (ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES) is a WWII vet and art curator who gives lectures on paintings at an art museum. While trying to account for his actions one strange night, he finds himself pretty deep in some kind of criminal racket. On the lam from the law, he decides to get to the bottom of things on his own. (O'Brien is a street-smart art curator, knowing how to evade the police, sneak into and out of buildings, and arrange meetings in shady places.) He's mixed up in something serious. He knows too much. His life is in danger. Can he trust *him*? Can he trust *her*? Should he be trusting anybody at this point?

There are a handful of secondary characters, but the film doesn't take the time to explain who they are or what their deal is. We only know that they are associated in some way with O'Brien and/or the museum. And we know that one of those people in the room must be the "bad guy". And so the guessing game begins.

Why is Herbert Marshall so interested in O'Brien's activity? What was that person doing on the night of the murder? Is that a crooked cop? Why didn't the cigarette boy recognize him? Who's that lurking in the shadows? Could O'Brien be betrayed by *them*?

The final solution to the art theft mystery seems like too much work, too much risk, and too much bloodshed to be worth it all. (And what good is a painting that's too hot to be displayed for anybody?) But what do I know about great art?

Pat O'Brien is past his 1930s prime and looking a bit William Bendix-y around the edges. He is joined by the lovely Claire Trevor, a film noir staple, as an old friend and his only true ally. The cast also includes Herbert Marshall, Wallace Ford, and Ray Collins. The film has some typical noir touches, and the art theme is unique. Seeing the x-rayed paintings is fascinating, so the movie has that going for it. But the film overall doesn't stand out. It's okay, but not great.


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