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The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950)

A veteran homicide detective who has witnessed his socialite girlfriend kill her husband sees his inexperienced brother assigned to the case.

Director:

Felix E. Feist

Writers:

Seton I. Miller (screenplay), Philip MacDonald (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee J. Cobb ... Lt. Ed Cullen
Jane Wyatt ... Lois Frazer
John Dall ... Andy Cullen
Lisa Howard Lisa Howard ... Janet Cullen
Harlan Warde ... Howard Frazer
Tito Vuolo ... Pietro Capa
Charles Arnt ... Ernest Quimby (as Charles E. Arnt)
Marjorie Bennett ... Muriel Quimby
Alan Wells ... Nito Capa
Mimi Aguglia ... Mrs. Capa
Bud Wolfe Bud Wolfe ... Officer Blair
Morgan Farley ... Rushton
Howard Negley ... Detective Olson
William Gould ... Doc Munson
Art Millan Art Millan ... United Airlines Clerk
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Storyline

Rich Lois Frazer, divorcing her fortune-hunter husband, finds he's bought a gun. Suspecting he plans to kill her, she calls in her lover, who just happens to be Homicide Lieutenant Ed Cullen. When Ed arrives, the gun gets used...and because of his relationship with Lois, Ed is compelled to compound a felony. The good news: Ed himself is assigned to the case. The bad news: Ed's hotshot younger brother Andy, a new- minted detective, is also on the case...and anxious to prove himself. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

for a woman like this ... a man would do anything ... even murder. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

26 December 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gun See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lee J Cobb offers a Chesterfield cigarette to Jane Wyatt at the end of the movie. See more »

Goofs

When Janet stops Ed on the street, a reflection of a wavering boom microphone is visible on the hood of Ed's car. See more »

Quotes

Police Lt. Ed Cullen: [to Ed] Better learn one thing: never take a case to bed.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in You Bet Your Life: Episode #8.2 (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

 
True Fast Noir: "Yes, for one thing, a dame."
2 July 2009 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950)

"Yes, for one thing, a dame."

A fast, curious, edgy crime film that depends on a fabulous, simple twist, which you learn right at the start and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. The clash of two cops who are brothers begins innocently, and turns and builds in a very believable way, as the details of a murder are revealed. By the end, with a fabulous scene below the Golden Gate Bridge, it's a chase scene of pure suspense.

Lee J. Cobb (more usually a brilliant secondary character) takes the lead as a cop who does his job with steady weariness, and yet when faced with a woman he loves too much, puts everything in danger. He's just perfect in his role, right to the last scene when you see him look down the hall with the same feeling he has at the beginning of the film. His kid brother played by the slightly quirky John Dall ("Gun Crazy") is all virtue, almost to the point of sweet sadness. And the two main women play believable supporting roles (especially Cobb's love-interest, who is selfish and panicky to just the right degree).

This Jack M. Warner production was released by Fox but by the looks of it, it can't be quite a full budget feature movie, and because of that it is relentless and edgy, with no time for polish or emotional depth. Cameraman Russell Harlan ("Blackboard Jungle" and much later "To Kill a Mockingbird") does a brilliant job with great angles and framing. It isn't elegant, but it's visually sharp. Throw in a talented but little known director, Felix Feist, and some top shelf editing (by David Weisbart, one of absolute best) and you have just the mix you need for a small film much larger than life.

This is a film noir in the usual sense of style, but also in substance--a lead male who is alienated and casting about for meaning in life, and a lead female who leads him astray.

But in the end, what's it about? Crime? No. Love? Yes. The only subject that matters.

Cobb: "Do you think I'd throw that away on a sucker play like this?"

Dall: "Yes, for one thing, a dame."


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