7.2/10
3,945
80 user 46 critic

He Walked by Night (1948)

This film-noir piece, told in semi-documentary style, follows police on the hunt for a resourceful criminal who shoots and kills a cop.

Directors:

Alfred L. Werker (as Alfred Werker), Anthony Mann (uncredited)

Writers:

Crane Wilbur (story), Crane Wilbur (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

T-Men (1947)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Two US Treasury agents hunt a successful counterfeiting ring.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Wallace Ford, Alfred Ryder
Raw Deal (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Joe Sullivan has taken the rap for Rick who double-crosses him with a flawed escape plan and other means intended to get rid of him.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Mexican and American federal agents tackle a vicious gang exploiting illegal farm workers in southern California.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Howard Da Silva
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An ex-con trying to go straight is framed for a million dollar armored car robbery and must go to Mexico in order to unmask the real culprits.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: John Payne, Coleen Gray, Preston Foster
Side Street (1950)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A struggling young father-to-be gives in to temptation and impulsively steals money from the office of a shady lawyer - with catastrophic consequences.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Farley Granger, Cathy O'Donnell, James Craig
D.O.A. (1949)
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Frank Bigelow, told he's been poisoned and has only a few days to live, tries to find out who killed him and why.

Director: Rudolph Maté
Stars: Edmond O'Brien, Pamela Britton, Luther Adler
The Big Combo (1955)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, Jean Wallace
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Frank Johnson flees police after becoming an eyewitness to murder. He is pursued around scenic San Francisco by his wife, a reporter, the police, and... the real murderer.

Director: Norman Foster
Stars: Ann Sheridan, Dennis O'Keefe, Robert Keith
The Prowler (1951)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When Susan Gilvray reports a prowler outside her house police officer Webb Garwood investigates and sparks fly. If only her husband wasn't in the way.

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Van Heflin, Evelyn Keyes, John Maxwell
Detour (1945)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Chance events trap hitch-hiker Al Roberts in a tightening net of film noir trouble.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Stars: Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Pursued by the big-time gambler he robbed, John Muller takes a new identity, with ironic results.

Director: Steve Sekely
Stars: Paul Henreid, Joan Bennett, Eduard Franz
Scandal Sheet (1952)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The editor of an exploitation newspaper commits a murder and assigns his protégé to investigate hoping to divert attention away from himself.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: John Derek, Donna Reed, Broderick Crawford
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Basehart ... Roy Martin / Roy Morgan
Scott Brady ... Police Sgt. Marty Brennan
Roy Roberts ... Police Capt. Breen
Whit Bissell ... Paul Reeves
James Cardwell ... Police Sgt. Chuck Jones
Jack Webb ... Lee Whitey
Edit

Storyline

In the Post-World War II, in Los Angeles, a criminal shoots and kills a police officer in the middle of the night. Without any leads, the chief of the LAPD assigns Sgt. Chuck Jones and Sgt. Marty Brennan to investigate the murder and apprehend the culprits. When the dealer of electronics devices, Paul Reeves, is caught selling a stolen projector, the police identifies the criminal, and connects him to other unsolved robberies. Using the witnesses of his heists, they draw their face, but the true identity of the smart and intelligent criminal is not disclosed. The perseverance of Sgt. Marty Brennan in his investigation gives a clue where he might live. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Savage TRUTH! Stronger than Fiction! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Chinese

Release Date:

10 May 1949 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

The L.A. Investigator See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bryan Foy Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Loosely based on the real-life 1946 crime spree of Erwin "Machine Gun" Walker (1918-1982). Unlike the character in the film, Walker was captured, tried and sentenced to death for first-degree murder. On April 14, 1949, two days before his scheduled execution, Walker attempted suicide and the execution was postponed. A psychiatric board pronounced him insane and he was sent to the Mendocino State Hospital for the next 12 years. Declared sane again in 1961, his sentence was commuted by the governor to life without parole. From 1970-74 he filed several motions to appeal his case, twice making it to the California Supreme Court. The second time the court vacated the "without parole" part of his sentence. Walker applied for and was granted parole in 1974. He then legally changed his name, worked as a chemist and died in 1982. See more »

Goofs

A revolver ejects its spent casings only if the shooter does so manually, which Richard Baseheart didn't do, therefore the police could not have even had them to compare with the fired casings from the automatic. An even bigger blunder was the photo comparing the two fired shells, they were clearly marked .380 auto, an entirely different round than the .38 special or .45 auto that the police claimed were fired from the same gun. So now there were three different guns used to create this technical error. In addition, when Jack Webb shows his blow-up photos, all three ejector markings are in the precise same location on the cartridge head, a statistical impossibility. In fact, all three are blow-ups of one photograph. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: And so the tedious quest went on. Sergeant Brennan wore out his shoes and his patience going from police station to police station, checking photos until his eyes were blurry. For police work is not all glamour and excitement and glory. There are days and days of routine, of tedious probing, of tireless searching. Fruitless days. Days when nothing goes right, when it seems as if no one could ever think his way through the maze of baffling trails a criminal leaves. But the answer to that is ...
See more »

Connections

Featured in The World Famous Kid Detective (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of the most influential, yet overlooked, movies of all time.
11 October 2001 | by yarboroughSee all my reviews

Most hardcore film buffs probably don't know that "He Walked By Night" is one of the most influential and important movies ever made. Literally. It is an accurate account of the 1947 manhunt for the most cunning criminal in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department. "He Walked By Night" is a turning point in the detective movie, displaying the real-life police procedures used in searching for a criminal, which include teamwork and technology, and showing far more realistic characters than other flicks did. Other movies of this era showed phony, daring detectives engaging in shoot-em-ups with criminals while wooing a woman. "He Walked By Night" captures reality in a stark and startling way, with excellent black-and-white photography from John Alton. Though Scott Brady was probably too young (24) as the lead detective in this movie, his realistic performance is a welcomed relief from the over-the-top camp performances from actors in other detective movies, such as Dick Powell's in "Murder My Sweet" and Alan Ladd's in every one of his detective movies.

The realistic technique of this movie was so innovative, that Jack Webb (who has his first good-sized role in this movie) used this technique in making his 1940s radio show "Dragnet." When he brought "Dragnet" to television in 1951, the style of the show influenced countless other shows, launching realistic police drama in television. This realistic style is very noticeable in TV shows today, such as "Law and Order," and "NYPD Blue."

As influential as "He Walked By Night" was, it is also a finely acted, finely directed, well-written, and intense police movie. It is being re-released on DVD under "The Great Cops Movies," so don't miss it.


89 of 95 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 80 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed