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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.


Joseph Lerner


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




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
Learn more

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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


How Innocent Can a Bystander Be? See more »


Did You Know?


Masher: [Sidles up Angel's left, Max is seated to her right] How about it, velvet eyes? Yes or no?
Max Thursday: The answer is no.
Masher: [to Angel] You know this character?
Angel: Yeah, I know him.
Masher: You want I should get rid of him?
Angel: No, I want you should go away. You make me feel like I got wrinkles in my stockings.
Masher: What happened to your other sucker, Angel? Did he run out of ten dollar bills?
Angel: Why don't you get out of here? Go on. Blow.
[the Masher walks out of the frame]
See more »

User Reviews

talky noir
8 September 2019 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

From 1950, "Guilty Bystander" stars Zachary Scott, Faye Emerson, Kay Medford, Sam Levene, J. Edward Bromberg, and Mary Boland.

Scott is Max Thursday, an ex-cop, now turned drunken house detective in a cheap hotel. One night, his ex-wife (Emerson) tells him their little son is missing, and she needs his help.

This film is on a list I have of the top 250 noirs. I have no understanding of how it made the list. It was made for about fifty cents, the film quality is awful, and the characters talk endlessly. The plot is confusing. Other than that, it's not very good.

It is a nice chance to see the lovely Faye Emerson, a prominent stage actress and wife of Elliott Roosevelt. The film also has a wonderful performance by Mary Boland, a silent film actress who appeared in many films including The Women in 1939. She plays the woman who runs the fleabag where Max works, or should I say, sleeps it off.

This film meanders around all over the place, with no structure. The film quality is so bad that the last 30 minutes or so all I saw was a black screen and had to guess what was happening. The strong cast of pros is way too good for this.

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Release Date:

21 April 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hotel der Verlorenen See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Reeves Magicorder)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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