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The Tattooed Stranger (1950)

Early one morning in a New York City park, a passerby walking his dog discovers who ends up being a Jane Doe shot dead in the front passenger seat of a parked car. Homicide Chief Captain ... See full summary »


Edward Montagne (as Edward J. Montagne)


Philip H. Reisman Jr. (original screenplay) (as Phil Reisman Jr.)
531 ( 6,956)


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Complete credited cast:
John Miles ... Detective Frank Tobin
Patricia Barry ... Mary Mahan (as Patricia White)
Walter Kinsella Walter Kinsella ... Lieutenant Corrigan
Frank Tweddell Frank Tweddell ... Captain Lundquist
Rod McLennan Rod McLennan ... Captain Gavin
Henry Lascoe ... Joe Canko (as Henry Lasco)
Arthur L. Jarrett Arthur L. Jarrett ... Johnny Marseille (as Arthur Jarrett)
Jim Boles Jim Boles ... Fisher
William Gibberson William Gibberson ... Aberfoyle


Early one morning in a New York City park, a passerby walking his dog discovers who ends up being a Jane Doe shot dead in the front passenger seat of a parked car. Homicide Chief Captain Lundquist assigns longtime Homicide Detective, hard-boiled and grizzled Lieutenant Corrigan in charge of the investigation. He also assigns as co-lead younger college educated Detective Frank Tobin, newly transferred into Homicide from the Police Laboratory. While Tobin, who is used to having his head above a microscope in conducting his work, realizes that he has to gain the skills of field work on the job, rough around the edges Corrigan is not looking forward to working with who he considers an egghead. They have to discover not only the victim's identity, but who killed her, why she was killed and the killer's whereabouts, Tobin determining early in the investigation that the killer is indeed a man and a tall one at that. One of the other major leads is the tattoo on the victim's wrist. In the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 February 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der tätowierte Fremde See more »


Box Office


$124,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jack Lord appears in the film 2 or 3 times as one of the detectives at police headquarters. See more »


When Det. Tobin and his partner enter the cafeteria where the murder victim had worked, near the cash register, sitting at the counter, is a man with no hat, glasses, with a cup of coffee in front of him, eating something with a knife and fork. When we next see that counter seat, there's a man with a hat, a different suit, no glasses, eating ice cream out of a bowl. See more »


Det. Frank Tobin: He doesn't LOOK like a killer.
Lt. Corrigan: Neither does a toadstool.
See more »

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User Reviews

Great sense of the Seedy City
1 June 2008 | by bensonjSee all my reviews

THE TATTOOED STRANGER was made two years after THE NAKED CITY and is obviously strongly influenced by it. Both films start with the murder of a woman and no clues. Both feature a team of a veteran and a neophyte detective. Both emphasize the legwork the young detective has to do, going from store to store throughout the city. In both the young detective tries to catch the killer alone. And both even feature a location with gravestones in the final chase. Yet, still, STRANGER is much more effective in capturing the real, everyday city, and is a memorable film in its own right. THE NAKED CITY rarely looks as though it were filmed with a hidden camera; in that bigger-budget production, the real locations look more like sets, with hired extras, studio camera-work and lighting, etc. (The exception, of course, is the breathtaking finale on the Williamsburg Bridge.) And the foreground action takes precedence; one doesn't get a strong sense of the texture of the city the way one does in STRANGER, where almost the entire film is made on various locations, including The Bowery.

The detection and the crime are quite realistic, and the bit players--including two tattoo experts and various luncheonette owners--seem as though they were pulled off the street. The excellent pacing matches a good script and performances appropriate to the story. The dialogue is sharp: pointing the body out to morgue attendants arriving just after the shootout, "He's over here, just the way you like him." And the young clean-cut cop has a nice sense of what a cop can get away with. In one of those greasy luncheonettes he tells a customer who seems interested in his conversation, "Joe, your ice cream's melting." With its real sense of the seedy atmosphere of the city, its agreeable pacing and crisp dialogue, THE TATTOOED STRANGER is a top notch film in its genre, able to hold its own in comparison to bigger-budgeted films.

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