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The Glass Wall (1953)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 31 July 1953 (Finland)
2:05 | Trailer
Peter, a WW II 'displaced person' about to be deported jumps ship in New York harbor in an effort to find an ex-G.I named Tom whom he helped during the war and can prove Peter's right to ... See full summary »


Maxwell Shane


Ivan Tors (screenplay), Maxwell Shane (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Vittorio Gassman ... Peter Kaban
Gloria Grahame ... Maggie Summers
Ann Robinson ... Nancy
Douglas Spencer ... Inspector Bailey
Robin Raymond ... Tanya aka Bella Zakoyla
Jerry Paris ... Tom
Elizabeth Slifer Elizabeth Slifer ... Mrs. Hinckley - Landlady
Richard Reeves ... Eddie Hinckley
Joe Turkel ... Freddie Zakoyla (as Joseph Turkel)
Else Bäck Else Bäck ... Mrs. Zakoyla (as Else Neft)
Michael Fox ... Inspector Toomey / Narrator
Nesdon Booth Nesdon Booth ... Monroe - Taxi Driver (as Ned Booth)
Kathleen Freeman ... Zelda - Fat Woman
Juney Ellis Juney Ellis ... Girl friend
Jack Teagarden ... Musician


Peter, a WW II 'displaced person' about to be deported jumps ship in New York harbor in an effort to find an ex-G.I named Tom whom he helped during the war and can prove Peter's right to legal entry in the United States. It is a race against time for if he can't Tom within 24 hours and prove his case, he will be branded a fugitive and will be permanently disqualified for U.S. citizenship. His quest leads him to befriending Maggie, a down-on-her-luck factory worker whom he rejuvenates through his good faith; a visit to a jazz club where Shorty Rogers and his band and trombonist Jack Teagarden are playing, and an interlude with a good- hearted burlesque dancer, Tanya Zakoyla, takes him to her mother's home for food and rest. The climax comes at dawn in the United Nations building (the "glass wall" of the title) where he goes to plead his case and that of all displaced persons. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE 10-HOUR MANHUNT...that tore New York apart! See more »


Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Ann Robinson's first credited film. See more »


As in so many other movies, a newspaper with an article relevant to the plot comes out impossibly soon after the event. Also, the paper is the New York Daily News, which is a morning paper. The story states that Gassman's character arrived that day. The deadline for a morning paper would be before midnight the day before, so the stories are always about what happened on the previous day. See more »


Mrs. Zakoyla: Don't forget, your dead father was a lousy foreigner!
See more »


References Bugles in the Afternoon (1952) See more »

User Reviews

Moderately interesting...
9 March 2010 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Vittorio Gassman stars as a stowaway on a boat to New York. It seems he's spent years in concentration camps and is desperate to come to America. However, once caught, the authorities decide to deport him--as he WAS a stowaway and he has no resources in the country. However, this poor guy DOES know someone in America--a guy named Tom who could sponsor him and who plays a trumpet on Times Square! With such a vague description, they have no choice but to deport him. However, just before the ship departs, he jumps off and roams the streets of Manhattan looking for Tom. With so many people in the city, what are the odds?! On the way, Vittorio meets up with a pretty young thief, Gloria Graham. It seems she's out of work and desperate. The two eventually team up and try to help each other. Later, after they separate, the man meets some others who aren't that particularly interested in turning him in--almost like Richard Kimble from "The Fugitive".

Overall, it is a good film in that it's so different. However, it's far from a great film--more of an interesting time-passer and not a lot more. The worst part about it is near the end--it just seemed very heavy-handed. The main problem overall is that nothing much particularly happens in the film--as if the plot is only enough for a short film, not a full-length one like this.

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Release Date:

31 July 1953 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Die gläserne Mauer See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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