The ambitious Stanton "Stan" Carlisle works in a sideshow as carny and assistant of the mentalist Zeena Krumbein, who is married with the alcoholic Pete. The couple had developed a secret code to pretend to read minds and was successful in the show business before Pete starts drinking. Stan stays with them expecting to learn their code and leave the carnival to be a successful mentalist. Stan also flirts with the gorgeous Molly that lives in the carnival with the strong Bruno. Zeena and The Savage, an alcoholic man that eats live chickens that the audiences believe that is a savage, are the greatest attractions of the sideshow. When Stan gives booze to Pete and he dies, Stan finds that Pete had drunk methyl alcohol and not his booze, but he feels guilty for the death of him. Zeena teaches the code to him and Molly helps Stan to learn them. After an incident, Stan is forced to marry Molly and he decides to move to Chicago with her to become a sensation in a night club. One day, he ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Studio head Darryl F. Zanuck found this movie so generally distasteful that he eventually took it out of circulation; but it was theatrically re-released in 1956-1957, did good business, particularly in the drive-in circuit, and received wide distribution; after Power's premature death in 1958, widespread public demand for it on television resulted in its initial telecast in New York City Saturday 10 January 1959 on WRCA (Channel 4), followed by Salt Lake City Tuesday 27 January 1959 on KTVT (Channel 4), by Wichita Wednesday 28 January 1959 on KTVH (Channel 12), by San Francisco/Oakland Tuesday 3 March 1959 on KTVU (Channel 2), and soon spreading far and wide as a result of its extraordinarily high ratings. Its 2005 DVD release as part of the Twentieth Century Fox "noir" series brought "Nightmare Alley" back once again into even wider circulation. See more »
During Powers's cab ride away from Walker's apartment, the Chicago Theater is visible in the rear-projection behind the car. After several more minutes of driving, the cab turns around in front of the same theater. See more »
Wait a minute mister, you're not talking to one of your chumps. You're talking to your wife! You're talking to somebody who knows you red, white and blue. And you can't fool me anymore.
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Wandered in on this classic many years ago, when it aired on WGN with no advance notice. I'd read a Houdini biography by William Lindsay Gresham, and seeing his name on this really got my curiosity up. Can't understand all the comparisons to "Freaks". They share a carnival setting, and little else. In these days of "Crossing Over", and psychic 1-900 hotlines, everybody should see this expose of the psychic business, possibly more important now, than then. Tyrone Power is excellent, playing against type, and showing more acting ability than many expected. The cast is virtually flawless, and the story remains timely. Having worked on a carnival myself, this film was very useful. Between this, and the gambling books of John Scarne, I started at the carnival with full knowledge of the scams that augmented their operations. I guess that a new print has been struck for arthouse showings, but we really need a lavish DVD presentation, with all the extras and documentation they can find!
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