78 user 15 critic

Impact (1949)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1 April 1949 (USA)
A unfaithful wife plots with her lover to kill her husband, but the lover is accidentally killed instead. The husband stays in hiding, and lets his wife be charged with conspiracy.


Arthur Lubin


Dorothy Davenport (screenplay) (as Dorothy Reid), Jay Dratler (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Donlevy ... Walter Williams
Ella Raines ... Marsha Peters
Charles Coburn ... Lt. Tom Quincy
Helen Walker ... Irene Williams
Anna May Wong ... Su Lin Chung
Robert Warwick ... Capt. Callahan
Clarence Kolb ... Darcy
Art Baker ... Eldredge - Defense Attorney
William Wright ... Prosecutor
Mae Marsh ... Mrs. King (as Mrs. Peters)
Sheilah Graham ... Sheila Graham
Tony Barrett ... Jim Torrence
Philip Ahn ... Ah Sing
Glen Vernon ... Ed (as Glenn Vernon)
Linda Leighton ... Miss Revere - Telephone Operator (as Linda Johnson)


In San Francisco, the successful self-made businessman Walter Williams has just bought three factories in Denver with the approval of the board of directors. His beloved wife Irene tells him that she is not feeling well enough to travel with him, and asks Walter to give a lift to her cousin Jim Torrance. On the highway, Jim, who is actually Irene's lover, tries to kill Walter hitting his head and throwing him off a cliff, and has a fatal fiery accident while escaping driving Walter's car. Walter is believed to be the driver and later his wife is sent to jail accused of plotting his murder. Meanwhile, the wounded Walter falls asleep in a moving van and eventually winds up in Larkspur, a small town in Idaho. He is hired as a mechanic in a gas station by the owner, Marsha Peters. For three months, Walter reads the news, expecting revenge with Irene sentenced to death, and he and Marsha fall in love for each other. When Walter discloses the truth to Marsha, she convinces him to return to ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Wanted By Two Women! One For Love! One For Murder! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


First film for Anna May Wong in seven years since Lady from Chungking (1942). She would not appear in another film until her final one, Portrait in Black (1960). See more »


The width of the verge (side of the road) where Torrance stops the car to change the tyre is markedly different between the studio shots and the location shot. See more »


Mrs. King: When you trust folks, you trust 'em, and you give 'em a chance to work out things the way that seems right to them.
Walter Williams: How can one little woman be so big?
See more »


Featured in Avain (2006) See more »


It Can't Be
Written by Leo C. Popkin and Chuck Gould
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User Reviews

"From Irene and me, sucker!"
14 November 2014 | by utgard14See all my reviews

Successful businessman Walter Williams (Brian Donlevy) loves his pretty wife Irene (Helen Walker) more than anything. Little does he know she's plotting with her lover to kill him. During the murder attempt, Walter is hit hard on the head but lives. The other guy, however, is killed in a car crash and burned beyond recognition. Believed to have been the man killed in the crash, Walter decides not to come forward. Instead he goes to work as a mechanic in the garage of Marsha Peters (Ella Raines). When Irene is tried for his murder, Walter must decide whether or not to reveal he's still alive.

Brian Donlevy is pretty good. He's at his best when his character is angry or edgy. The sappy romantic stuff doesn't fit him well. Helen Walker is a particularly hissable villainess. Lovely Ella Raines is the good girl. There's no meat to the part but she does well with what she's given. Charles Coburn plays the detective out to get to the bottom of things. He's always fun. Arthur Lubin's direction in the first half is great film noir. I loved the scene where the lover tries to kill the husband. The whole thing was brilliantly executed. Then something happens and it's like a separate movie. The second half is much less like noir and more like a standard crime melodrama where a girl has to prove her guy is innocent of murder. If the entire picture had been like the first half, I'd say it was one of film noir's best. But it isn't. It's still an enjoyable movie with some good twists and turns.

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Release Date:

1 April 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Impact See more »


Box Office


$900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cardinal Pictures Inc. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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