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The Crooked Way (1949)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 22 April 1949 (USA)
War hero recovers from amnesia & is confronted by his criminal past.

Director:

Robert Florey

Writers:

Robert Monroe (radio play "No Blade Too Sharp"), Richard H. Landau (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Payne ... Eddie Rice / Eddie Riccardi
Sonny Tufts ... Vince Alexander
Ellen Drew ... Nina Martin
Rhys Williams ... Lt. Joe Williams
Percy Helton ... Petey
John Doucette ... Sgt. Barrett
Charles Evans ... Capt. Anderson (as Charlie Evans)
Greta Granstedt ... Hazel Downs
Raymond Largay Raymond Largay ... Arthur Stacey, M.D.
Harry Bronson Harry Bronson ... Danny
Hal Baylor ... Coke (as Hal Fieberling)
Don Haggerty ... Hood
Jack Overman ... Hood
Crane Whitley Crane Whitley ... Dr. Kemble / Off-Screen Narrator
John Harmon ... Kelly
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Storyline

A World War II veteran, suffering from amnesia but otherwise healthy, is released from a veteran's hospital, decides to return to Los Angeles to see if he can regain his identity. Trying to retrace his former steps he soon learns that he was a double-crossing gangster, and many people have reasons to wish he wasn't around...and some try to see to it that he isn't around very long...alive, at least. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He's got a date ...with DEATH! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Herr der Unterwelt See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In separate contemporary articles in The Hollywood Reporter, Shelley Winters and Jeanne Cagney were announced as the female lead in this picture. See more »

Goofs

Alexander's position in front of the War Surplus store changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Rice: [to Nina Martin] Keep your lights off and the motor running.
See more »

Connections

References Pitfall (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Down in the Valley
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Louis Forbes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Organic Shrapnel In The Head.
23 March 2014 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

The Crooked Way is directed by Robert Florey and adapted to screenplay by Richard H. Landau from the Radio Play "No Blade Too Sharp" by Robert Monroe. It stars John Payne, Sonny Tufts, Ellen Drew, Rhys Williams, Harry Bronson and Hal Baylor. Music is by Louis Forbes and cinematography by John Alton.

World War II veteran Eddie Rice (Payne) is suffering from permanent amnesia after a piece of shrapnel was lodged in his brain. With no recollection of his past life, he heads off to the only place he has a link with, the army registration office in Los Angeles. No sooner does he arrive there he is picked up by the cops, and soon his past life slowly begins to piece together, and it doesn't make for good news at all…

The amnesia plot device is served up once again for a film noir make-over, with mixed results. As a story it just about registers as interesting, there's not nearly enough made of the premise, with much of Eddie's memory recollections a bit too convenient for comfortable dramatic purpose. The smart hook is that Eddie, now a genuine nice guy, begins to find out he was something of bad man, very much so, and there are plenty of people displeased with him. There's also some considerable violence dotted throughout, aggression is palpable, while lead cast performances are more than adequate for the material to hand.

However, on a visual level The Crooked Way is on a different planet to the screenplay. John Alton brings all his skills as a film noir cinematographer here, photographing the whole film through a noir kaleidoscope. Characters move through shadows and light, or are bathed in various dark reflections, with the interior sequences brilliantly adding an aura of mental fog. With Florey throwing his bit in the mix as well, with canted angles and isolated lighting of the eyes, it's a top draw noir of the film making style. Their work deserves a better story, but regardless, because of the tech quality and the safe nature of the premise, this has to be a comfortable recommendation to anyone interested in film noir. 7/10


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