6.6/10
906
26 user 15 critic

Backfire (1950)

While recuperating from wartime back injuries at a hospital, veteran Bob Corey is visited on Christmas Eve by a beautiful stranger with an even stranger message.

Director:

Vincent Sherman

Writers:

Lawrence B. Marcus (screenplay) (as Larry Marcus), Ivan Goff (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Viveca Lindfors ... Lysa Radoff
Dane Clark ... Ben Arno / Lou Walsh
Virginia Mayo ... Nurse Julie Benson
Edmond O'Brien ... Steve Connelly
Gordon MacRae ... Bob Corey
Ed Begley ... Police Capt. Garcia
Frances Robinson ... Mrs. Blayne
Richard Rober ... Solly Blayne
Sheila MacRae ... Bonnie Willis (as Sheila Stephens)
David Hoffman ... Burns
Edit

Storyline

Bob Corey, recovering from a series of operations in a Veterans' hospital, learns that his friend, Steve Connelly, with whom he intended to buy a ranch, has disappeared under circumstance that indicate he may have been involved in a murder. Accompanied by his nurse, Julie Benson, with whom he has fallen in love, Bob follows a series of clues and incidents, including three more murders, that leads to a gambler, masquerading as an undertaker to avoid taxes on his illegal income, has a whole lot to do with his friend's predicament. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

That "White Heat" girl turns it on again!..


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 February 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Somewhere in the City See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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

Gambler Solly Blayne (Richard Rober) is shot from outside the living room window as he relaxes in his Los Angeles home, which is exactly the same way that gangster Bugsy Siegel was killed in Beverly Hills in 1947. See more »

Goofs

Every time one of the principals takes a cab, it's always the same 1936 De Soto which had been part of the WB studio inventory since the mid-1930s, and was still being used in films, although by the time this one was made, post-WWII 1946-1947-1948 De Sotos had become the norm on most city streets. Likewise, the police chief of Los Angeles is still running around in another long time pre-WWII WB veteran vehicle, a 1940 Buick 4-door sedan. See more »

Quotes

Police Captain Garcia: [to Sgt. Pluther, who's firing a fleeing suspect] Hold it. You're liable to hit a taxpayer.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Major Crimes: Poster Boy (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

You and the Night and the Music
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Schwartz
Played when Steve, Bonnie and Lysa are sitting at the table in the nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Returning vets drawn into cesspool of postwar Los Angeles
29 October 2001 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

The dislocation felt by returning servicemen was one of the chief topical themes of the film noir cycle. After being primed to take risks but no prisoners in the anarchic and violent theaters of World War, many found it hard to ratchet back down upon their return to an often jarringly altered society. Amnesia was the primary noir metaphor -- having to reconstruct an entire past life from scratch. Others faced having to cope with disabilities; still others, having spent the "best years of their lives" in hellholes abroad, weren't about to wait for the high life on the installment plan.

Backfire forgoes amnesia for the latter two categories. Gordon MacRae recuperates from spinal-cord injuries in a veterans' hospital until he can get out and buy a ranch with army buddy Edmond O'Brien, who abruptly vanishes. Upon release, MacRae sets out to track him down through the labyrinthine underbelly of postwar Los Angeles. It looks like O'Brien got mixed up with heavy gamblers, and is in fact wanted for apparently murdering a syndicate kingpin. MacRae is aided in his quest by his nurse (Virginia Mayo, good as a good gal for once) but thrown off the trail by a mysterious foreigner (Viveca Lindfors, as a discount-chain Ingrid Bergman). But, as always in the noir scheme, things are rarely what they at first seem....

No masterpiece, Backfire nevertheless keeps up the pace and the suspense, drawing (like Somewhere in the Night) on themes and formats that were central concerns of the cycle.


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