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Somewhere in the Night (1946)

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1:50 | Trailer
George Taylor returns from WWII with amnesia. Back home in Los Angeles, while trying to track down his old identity, he stumbles onto a 3-year old murder case and a hunt for a missing $2 million.

Writers:

Howard Dimsdale (screenplay), Joseph L. Mankiewicz (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Hodiak ... George W. Taylor
Nancy Guild ... Christy Smith
Lloyd Nolan ... Police Lt. Donald Kendall
Richard Conte ... Mel Phillips
Josephine Hutchinson ... Elizabeth Conroy
Fritz Kortner ... Anzelmo aka Dr. Oracle
Margo Woode Margo Woode ... Phyllis
Sheldon Leonard ... Sam
Lou Nova Lou Nova ... Hubert
Houseley Stevenson ... Michael Conroy
John Russell ... Marine Captain
Philip Van Zandt ... Navy Doctor
John Kellogg ... Hospital Medical Attendant
Polly Rose Polly Rose ... Nurse
Paula Reid Paula Reid ... Nurse
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Storyline

During the World War II, a soldier is hit by a grenade that deforms his face and leaves him with amnesia. Sometime later, he is recovered and learns that his name is George Taylor and he is discharged from the army. He finds a letter written by a man called Larry Cravat that would be his pal and he goes to Los Angeles to seek out Larry Cravat to find his identity. He goes to a bank, a hotel, a Turkish bath and a night-club following leads. He is beaten up by Hubert, the henchman of Anzelmo that dumps him at the front door of the singer Christy Smith that works in a night-club. George tells his story to her and Christy decides to help him. She calls her boss and friend Mel Phillips that schedules a lunch with his friend Police Lt. Donald Kendall and Christy. They learn that Larry Cravat was a private investigator that somehow received $2,000,000 three years ago from Germany from a Nazi that was immediately deceased. Then George receives a tip to go to the Terminal Dock where he meets ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

THE STORY OF A MAN AFRAID TO LOVE! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 September 1946 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lonely Journey See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 3, 1947 with John Hodiak reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

George Taylor is in the hospital at the beginning of the film with a broken arm and his head swathed in bandages. When they remove the bandages, he has a perfectly trimmed moustache. See more »

Quotes

Christy Smith: How does the inside of your mouth feel?
George W. Taylor: Like it's full of raw hamburger.
Christy Smith: That's just what it looked like. What did they hit you with?
George W. Taylor: A rubber hose.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Remington Steele: Cast in Steele (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Paducah
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when George removes the postcard and replaces it with a matchbook
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A restrained but moody, interesting rather than dynamic, film noir
12 February 2010 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Somewhere in the Night (1948)

This has all the gloomy, alienating, nighttime elements of the best film noirs, and it's smack in the central Post War best of it. It even has a director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, known for handling dramatic, emotional situations with both delicacy and power. And it all pays off. Somewhere in the Night follows a man just out of the army suffering amnesia, and he encounters a sordid past of crime he didn't know he had anything to do with.

The dilemma of American soldiers coming home changed men, and to a home country so changed it was like a foreign country, is the crux of most noir films, and this one plays into it straighter than most. The twist of true amnesia only makes the crisis of George Taylor more stark. The role is played with subtlety, and some stiffness, by John Hodiak, I think because he is meant to be eternally confused by events (since he remembers nothing) and yet can't show his confusion, so he draws up a blank face. Mankiewicz works this inner problem out on the screen well, though choosing to keep the camera at a distance, as if filming a play sometimes, not a recommended film noir method for style, but it does emphasize the psychology more discretely.

The camera-work is stiff, too, as if constrained as much as Taylor is in his amnesia. You won't see many sharp angles up or down, no tilted (dutch angle) frames, little moving camera, and little of the easiest of 1940s camera effects, extreme close ups. All of this makes for a dry look, and for my money, with a plot this sensational, a dull one. This cinematography, by Norbert Brodine sets the tone for the whole movie, and I assume it is at Mankiewicz's request, and it just doesn't compare well to other noirs, to Orson Welles, or to any number of Warner gangster films with similar shadowy subjects. Maybe the most extreme example of this is the long dialog over the crystal ball, where the camera just sits and watches.

The lighting and the sets, in general, are dynamic, however, and the acting generally solid. And it has all the hallmarks (not quite clichés) of the genre--thugs at the bar, a nightclub singer with a big heart, a good guy who turns out to be a bad guy, and a cop who is clever and peripheral, like a sentry always ready. The movie is, truly, interesting, and doesn't let up as you have to figure out the puzzle of who did what and why. It won't sweep you off your feet or blow you away, but it will be worth settling quietly into.


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