7.1/10
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38 user 34 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)
Reviews
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 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

Ethel Barrymore gets third billing, but she does not appear until 10 minutes from the end of the film. See more »

Quotes

Sheriff Clem Otis: Sure is remarkable how dying can make a saint of a man.
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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Amazing visuals, rich night scenes, a terrific psychological dilemma
13 January 2013 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Moonrise (1948)

A small rural town is the setting for a man struggling with an ambiguous crime he has committed. It's a psychologically loaded movie, and the clues start with the first abstract frames and last through every scene to the end. There is enough simplifying going on to keep it from being a classic or having the inventive flair of some contemporaries (or like "Night of the Hunter" a few years later), but I was impressed again in this second viewing.

One of the strengths here is certainly the mood created by all the richly blackened night scenes, both in the town and in the woods. The camera moves with unusual elegance and boldness through the scenes, or you might say through the shadows. The heightened angles and lack of faces in the first few shots is a sign of the atmosphere to come.

The little known leading actor, Dane Clark, is almost perfect in his role, partly for doing a great job and partly for letting his awkwardness bleed through into the character's. You come to feel his circumstance as an utterly ordinary guy. The sheriff is a restrained character and the man's girlfriend has a wonderful simple presence as well.

The real meat of it all is the trauma this man goes through bearing the guilt of his actions. He isn't so much pursued as just haunted by the thought of being caught. It's like the secret we all have had at some point and we get away with it for awhile, but it wears you out from inside until something has to give. One of his solutions finally it to run for it, and he has one last turning point near the end with his grandmother played by Ethel Barrymore. The folksy philosophy gets a little thick, I suppose, but by this point you go along with it because it's true. And it's not what you might think.

If you don't like old movies this will feel clumsy at times. But if you do already have a hankering for film noir and other crime dramas, even ones with mostly unknown actors, give this a try. And keep your eyes open for some great photography by John Russell, who is as important as anyone in this production. On some level it's truly great stuff.


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