7.0/10
1,254
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

Both Audrey Totter and Robert Taylor relished making this film - Totter, because she got to play a professional woman as she did in Lady in the Lake (1946), and Taylor, because he got to act and not just be a "pretty boy". 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

 
Superior cinema compared to Hollywood products of the decade
14 March 2003 | by JuguAbrahamSee all my reviews

I am surprised that this film was never given its due credit for its strengths while its weaknesses have been highlighted.

It is obvious to a casual viewer that the performance of Robert Taylor is superior to most of his other films that exploited his physical attributes more than his innate talent. Taylor would have been a good material for intelligent directors but unfortunately few worked with him. Director Curtis Bernhardt, with European experience behind him, utilized the range of emotions that he could extract from Taylor and the usually "wooden" Taylor emerges as an intelligent, purposeful individual.

The obvious weaknesses is the science of psychotherapy, brain surgery and truth serums that are presented in the film, which we now know is antiquated and is incorrect. Bernhardt has been criticized for his apathetic depiction of mental asylums in the film. All of this is correct but what would you do in the Forties if that is what you knew of the subject at that time.

Director Bernhardt to me is the person to be most admired in this movie, not actor Taylor. Take the sequence of the visit of the asylum staff to the house of the mother of the lead male character. You see the milk bottles and the newspapers outside the door. You have no response to the doorbell. Then you see a child peeking from behind the curtains and meekly opening the door. No word is spoken. The dead mothers feet are shown to us. Cut to another sequence. That is great cinema--good understanding of psychology, and deliberate underplaying of emotions by merely using visuals and editing the shots without resorting to emotional dialog.

The second most interesting facet of the film is the script. The rain used in the film (couldn't have been from the original play) adds so much to the atmosphere of the film. The sequences in the restaurants and bars, however short, are highlights of the strong script.

The editing, antiquated as it looks nearly 60 years after the film was made, is noteworthy for its crispness and relevance. The camera-work, exploiting shadows on frosted glasses and dark alleys, is equally remarkable.

Curtis Bernhardt could have been proud of this work despite its weakness for researching the subject inadequately. Handsome Taylor can be credited with a handful of good performances and strangely all of those performances had him playing anti-heroes. This is is one of those few.


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