6.7/10
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31 user 16 critic

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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Photos

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Cast

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

Savage Story of A Guy Who Tried Going Straight On...The CROOKED WAY (reissue print ad) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vince Alexander (Sonny Tufts) drives a 1947 Cadillac convertible; Nina Martin (Ellen Drew) drives a 1949 Ford convertible. 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 »

User Reviews

Unexceptional Except for Visuals
11 December 2013 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Decent, if unexceptional noir. Amnesiac ex-GI (Payne) exits VA hospital to pursue his real identity, which soon involves him in LA underworld. Real star here, as others point out, is photographer Alton, who provides the production with a strong visual edge. Too bad that neither the script nor the performances rise to that same visual level. Payne is workman-like as the afflicted vet trying to escape his old life and start a new one. However, there's nothing dramatically distinctive about his presence. Note too how deglamorized Drew is in her role as Nina, which is unusual for that kind of gangland role.

The real problem, however, as others also point out, is Sonny Tufts' impersonation of a tough guy mastermind. It's just not his natural disposition, and he lacks the acting range to successfully fake it. Instead, we get a series of near laughable facial distortions meant to prove his tough guy intent. On the other hand, in the right kind of nice guy role, e.g. Easy Living {1949}, Tufts could be quite effective. Too bad we don't get more of Percy Helton's raspy Petey. He lends just the right kind of character color the movie sorely needs.

Likely, the film is too low-key for its own good. Not even the abrupt killing of the cop registers the way it should. We simply observe without being made to feel. Anyway, the movie remains a visual treat in b&w, even though the dramatics fail to work up a level of edge or impact that could make the results memorable. A routine noir, at best.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Crooked Way See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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