7.3/10
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55 user 36 critic

Raw Deal (1948)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 26 May 1948 (USA)
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
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dennis O'Keefe ... Joe Sullivan
Claire Trevor ... Pat Regan
Marsha Hunt ... Ann Martin
John Ireland ... Fantail
Raymond Burr ... Rick Coyle
Curt Conway Curt Conway ... Spider
Chili Williams ... Marcy
Richard Fraser ... Fields
Regis Toomey ... Police Capt. Fields
Whit Bissell ... Murderer
Cliff Clark ... Gates
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Storyline

Joe Sullivan is itching to get out of prison. He's taken the rap for Rick, who owes him $50,000. Rick sets up an escape for Joe, knowing that Joe will be caught escaping and be shot or locked away forever. But with the help of his love-struck girl Pat and his sympathetic legal caseworker Ann, Joe gets further than he's supposed to, and we are posed with two very important questions: Is Joe really the cold and heartless criminal he appears to be, or is there a heart of gold under that gritty exterior? And does Joe belong with the tough, street-wise Pat, or with the prim, moralizing Ann? Written by Martin Lewison <lewison+@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

prison | police | set up | money | love | See All (21) »

Taglines:

Proving that there is no honor among thieves!! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 May 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Corkscrew Alley See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The $50,000 Joe wants from Rick would equal about $500,000 in 2016. See more »

Goofs

The on-screen end credits list Claire Trevor's character as "Pat Regan." However, she is referred to as "Pat Cameron" by other characters including the prison guard at the beginning of the film and by both Spider and Rick Coyle near the end. See more »

Quotes

Joe Sullivan: [being visited in prison by Ann] Next time you come up, don't wear that perfume.
Ann Martin: Why not?
Joe Sullivan: It doesn't help a guy's good behavior.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Frogs for Snakes (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The kid with a medal.
12 March 2011 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Raw Deal is directed by Anthony Mann and adapted by Leopold Atlas & John C. Higgins from a suggested story by Arnold B. Armstrong & Audrey Ashley. It stars Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt, John Ireland & Raymond Burr. Paul Sawtell scores the music and John Alton is the cinematographer.

Convict Joe Sullivan (O'Keefe), incarcerated after taking a fall, breaks out of jail with the help of his girl, Pat Cameron (Trevor). But something is amiss, brutish mobster Rick Coyle (Burr) is influencing proceedings behind the scenes, he needs to because he owes Joe big time. Kidnapping Joe's social worker, Ann Martin (Hunt), Joe & Pat hit the road, it's a road that will lead to desperate consequences for many.

A raw fatalistic film noir that sees the ace pairing of director Mann and photographer Alton. They, along with O'Keefe, had made T-Men the year previously, itself a tough piece of film making. Raw Deal is the lesser known movie of the two, but that's not in any way indicative of the quality of Raw Deal, for it's most assuredly the real deal for sure. What unfolds over the 80 minutes running time is a plot full of characters destined for disappointments or even worse; rarely has the title for a film been as apt as it is here! Mann & Alton move the tight screenplay thru a shadowy world of half-lit images and high contrast brutality. Jittery cameras are supplemented by unbalanced angles, which in turn are boosted by Sawtell's music compositions. One of the best decisions made by Mann and Sawtell is that of the narration by Trevor, in itself unusual for a woman of noir to narrate, it's sorrowful and mournful in tone anyway, but with Sawtell scoring it with the theremin it plays out as part of a nightmarish dream-state.

O'Keefe was not the leading man type, but that's perfect for this film, he offers a credibility to a man whose life has taken a down turn, where his only comfort is being a thorn between two roses, but with that comes more problems as he seeks to only breathe the fresh air of freedom. Trevor (loyal and knowing moll) and Hunt (dainty with whiffs of goodness seeping from every pore) play off each other very well, offering up a sort of devil and angel on Joe's shoulders motif. Burr is shot from the waist up, giving his character even more emphasise as a hulking, sadistic brute, and rounding out the good performances is Ireland as a sly hit-man type who revels in getting a rise out of his paymaster. But no doubt about it, the real star of the show is Alton's photography, itself the critical character. Mann's film would have been great and got through on his direction and script anyway, but with Alton's camera it ends up being essential for the film noir faithful.

From the opening, where the credits show up on the background of prison bar shadows, to the no cop out-classic noir-ending, Raw Deal hits the mark. A film that's bleak and at times brutal, yet rich in emotional depth. A must see for like minded cinephiles. 9/10


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