7.1/10
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40 user 38 critic

Moonrise (1948)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1 October 1948 (USA)
Danny is being despised by his schoolmates because his father was accused to have killed another man and is condemned to the death penalty.

Director:

Frank Borzage

Writers:

Charles F. Haas (screenplay) (as Charles Haas), Theodore Strauss (novel)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dane Clark ... Danny Hawkins
Gail Russell ... Gilly Johnson
Ethel Barrymore ... Grandma
Allyn Joslyn ... Sheriff Clem Otis
Rex Ingram ... Mose
Harry Morgan ... Billy Scripture (as Henry Morgan)
David Street ... Ken Williams
Selena Royle ... Aunt Jessie
Harry Carey Jr. ... Jimmy Biff
Irving Bacon ... Judd Jenkins
Lloyd Bridges ... Jerry Sykes
Houseley Stevenson ... Uncle Joe Jingle
Phil Brown ... Elmer - Soda Jerk
Harry Cheshire ... J.B. Sykes (as Harry V. Cheshire)
Lila Leeds ... Julie
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Storyline

Danny Hawkins, who lives in a psychological shadow because his father died by a hangman's noose, accidentally kills a man in a fight over a girl, Gilly Johnson, and is afraid to notify the police. He wins the love of the girl but when she tries to influence him to admit his guilt, he runs away. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HER ARMS...HER LOVE...HIS ONLY ESCAPE FROM A HERITAGE OF HATE! (original poster -all caps)


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frank Borzage's Moonrise See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$849,452 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Burt Lancaster was considered for the male lead. See more »

Quotes

Grandma: A coward blames what he does on other folks.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Moving Pictures (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Be Home for Christmas
(uncredited)
Written by Walter Kent, Buck Ram and Kim Gannon
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User Reviews

Surprisingly dark and effective story told with atmospheric direction and a great performance from Dane Clark
27 March 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Danny Hawkins is still suffering from a traumatic childhood where he was teased and bullied relentlessly because his father had killed a man and been executed. Decades after leaving school Danny is throw into a state of temporary rage when another man (Jerry Sykes) makes fun of him for this very reason and from the resulting struggle he kills Jerry. Instantly regretting it, he is placed under suspicion and tries to escape but only finds himself trapped in more than one way by his crime and that of his father.

From the title alone I had no specific hopes for this film other than just using it to fill a bit of time while I did some ironing. However, once it opens with a well-directed and atmospheric moment of madness crossed with flashbacks I was taken by it and held with it even if it never consistently reached that height again. The plot is straightforward but has some surprisingly dark elements within it that make it worth seeing. The haunted character of Danny is the main reason that it is interesting, whether it be in the dialogue or in the visual touches (such as Danny and the raccoon coming face to face with much shared emotion).

Of course a big part of this working was a great performance from Clark who really gets into his character and dominates the film in an impressive manner. His performance is also helped by the good direction that frames interesting shots throughout the film, is imaginative when it needs to be and uses shadows really well; only in the final few minutes did I feel it lost this tone and delivered a morally satisfying that was required by the period. Support playing from Russell, Barrymore and others is OK but nobody really gets close to Clark; that said, it is amusing to see early appearances from Bridges and Morgan in small roles.

Overall this is an enjoyable film that feels quite imaginative despite its rather straightforward narrative on the surface. The direction produces a good atmosphere and clever shots while the material has a moral darkness and complexity to it that works well even if it does tend to chicken out near the end. All this is delivered really well by Clark who eats up the scenery in some scenes while also being able to internalise a lot of stuff surprisingly well for what came across as a rather low budget affair. Worth seeing for what it does well.


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