7.0/10
1,304
31 user 9 critic

High Wall (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 17 December 1947 (USA)
After a brain-damaged man confesses to murder and is committed, Dr. Ann Lorrison tries to prove his innocence.

Director:

Curtis Bernhardt

Writers:

Sydney Boehm (screenplay), Lester Cole (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Taylor ... Steven Kenet
Audrey Totter ... Dr. Ann Lorrison
Herbert Marshall ... Willard I. Whitcombe
Dorothy Patrick ... Helen Kenet
H.B. Warner ... Mr. Slocum
Warner Anderson ... Dr. George Poward
Moroni Olsen ... Dr. Philip Dunlap
John Ridgely ... David Wallace (as John Ridgeley)
Morris Ankrum ... Dr. Stanley Griffin
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Kenet
Vince Barnett ... Henry Cronner
Jonathan Hale ... Emory Garrison
Charles Arnt ... Sidney X. Hackle
Ray Mayer Ray Mayer ... Tom Delaney
Robert Hyatt ... Richard Kenet (as Bobby Hyatt)
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Storyline

Steven Kenet, suffering from a recurring brain injury, appears to have strangled his wife. Having confessed, he's committed to an understaffed county asylum full of pathetic inmates. There, Dr. Ann Lorrison is initially skeptical about Kenet's story and reluctance to undergo treatment. But against her better judgement, she begins to doubt his guilt, and endangers her career on a dangerous quest through dark streets awash with rain. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

So tense! So taut! It closes in on you like a high wall!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 December 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Anklage - Mord See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,844,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,553,000, 31 December 1948

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,618,000, 31 December 1948
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This film did poorly at the box office for MGM, resulting in a loss of $101,000 ($1M in 2017) according to studio records. See more »

Goofs

At around ten minutes, a group of doctors are looking at Kenet's skull x-rays. The x-rays are hung behind the illuminated frosted glass panels - so that we can see the x-rays, but the doctors could not. And the x-ray as we see it is oriented correctly to show a left side hematoma, but to the doctors, the x-ray is reversed meaning the hematoma would be on the right. See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2
(uncredited)
Composed by Frédéric Chopin
[The piano piece Slocum plays on the phonograph for Steve when they first meet at dinner]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
great performance by Taylor
3 September 2006 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Robert Taylor is Steven Kenet, accused of killing his unfaithful wife in "High Wall," a 1947 film noir also starring Audrey Totter and Herbert Marshall. In our first glimpse of Steve, he's in a car with a dead woman careening down the road to get rid of her. The problem is, due to a brain injury suffered during the war, he can't remember what happened. He is institutionalized for psychiatric evaluation to see if he can stand trial as a sane person. Audrey Totter is Ann, the psychiatrist who takes in Steve's small son as well as works with her patient to try and uncover the truth. Herbert Marshall plays his dead wife's boss.

After World War II, Hollywood began to explore mental and emotional disorders and the use of psychiatry to unlock the traumas of the mind. "Possessed," "Spellbound," and "The Snake Pit" are just a few of the dozens of films employing the use of psychiatry, mental hospitals, and/or psychotropic drugs. In "High Wall," the psychiatry seems to be more of a plot device than something that is actually used to help the patient. It's there to provide flashbacks. Meanwhile, the Taylor character, once he has surgery, has a mind of his own and is constantly slipping out or in the psychiatrist's office window, hiding in her car, and visiting the scene of the crime. The biggest problem is that the character of the murder victim is never developed, and the reasons for her behavior are never made clear. Nevertheless, the film manages to hold one's interest, has a great atmosphere and a couple of really shocking moments. There are also some very funny bits throughout, including a scene where Steve meets the public defender.

This is one of Robert Taylor's best performances. After "Johnny Eager," one of Hollywood's biggest heartthrobs began to play more complex roles and more bad guys. It was a good move; he played them very well. He doesn't get much support from Audrey Totter, who turns in a dull, somewhat cold performance in an attempt to be a professional woman. She doesn't give the role a lot of shading. Herbert Marshall seems somewhat miscast and is too lethargic for a role that requires some emotional range.

Very watchable for handsome Taylor's excellent performance.


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