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Guilty Bystander (1950)

An alcoholic ex-cop, now the house detective at a scuzzy hotel in an even scuzzier part of town, stumbles through New York City's sleazy underworld searching for his kidnapped son.

Director:

Joseph Lerner

Writers:

Don Ettlinger, H. William Miller (novel) (as Wade Miller) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Zachary Scott ... Max Thursday
Faye Emerson ... Georgia
Mary Boland ... Smitty
Sam Levene ... Capt. Tonetti
J. Edward Bromberg ... Varkas
Kay Medford ... Angel
Jed Prouty ... Dr. Elder
Harry Landers ... Bert
Elliott Sullivan Elliott Sullivan ... Stitch
Ray Julian Ray Julian ... Johnny
Dennis Patrick ... Mace (as Denns Harrison)
Garney Wilson Garney Wilson ... Harvey
Donald Novis Donald Novis ... Johnson
Lou Herbert Lou Herbert ... Detectibe
Jesse White ... Masher
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Storyline

An alcoholic ex-cop, now the house detective at a scuzzy hotel in an even scuzzier part of town, stumbles through New York City's sleazy underworld searching for his kidnapped son.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

How Innocent Can a Bystander Be? See more »


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hotel der Verlorenen See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Reeves Magicorder)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Noir ain't what it used to be.
31 December 2018 | by cheathamgSee all my reviews

I originally saw this movie on TV back in the fifties. I was in my teens and up until then my primary interest in films was for Disney and big budget Hollywood musicals, lots of flash and flair. After seeing Guilty Bystander I soon began to turn on to films like The Maltese Falcon, Woman in the Window and Angel Face. These films did not give me that happy feeling but rather kept me leaning forward in my chair. When they were over I didn't feel gratified and satisfied; I felt unsettled but mentally stimulated. Noir films are about people in trouble. The hero, or rather the protagonist, is deeply flawed. He is not a nice guy. However, he is kind of admirable. He overcomes his flaws and sets things to right. In Guilty Bystander the hero is an ex-cop named Max Thursday. He is an alcoholic who could not stand up to the demands of being a police officer and quit to become a private eye but couldn't handle that either. When his ex-wife informs him that their son has apparently been kidnapped, he is forced to come to grips with some very unpleasant truths about himself and people he thought he knew. The film checks a lot of the boxes to qualify as noir but it also has a number of failings. There are plots holes and much of the acting is clumsy. Scott as Thursday occasionally embarrasses himself but mostly projects well as a man trying hard to play a bad hand while not fully understanding the game. The film is based on the first of six novels featuring Thursday. The author was Wade Miller, a pseudonym for two guys who wrote a lot of noir crime fiction beside those six. They were probably as good as Raymond Chandler and his Phillip Marlowe character but never were as big a name, nor as well known today. I don't know if this film had anything to do with their lack of success in Hollywood or not but it's a pity that we don't have as much of Thursday as we do of Marlowe.


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