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Hell's Half Acre (1954)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Crime | 1 June 1954 (USA)
A woman who believes her missing husband is in prison in Hawaii on a murder charge travels there to see if it actually is him. However, he escapes before she sees him, when he hears that ... See full summary »


John H. Auer


Steve Fisher


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Cast overview:
Wendell Corey ... Chet Chester
Evelyn Keyes ... Donna Williams
Elsa Lanchester ... Lida O'Reilly
Marie Windsor ... Rose
Nancy Gates ... Sally Lee
Leonard Strong ... Ippy
Jesse White ... Tubby Otis
Philip Ahn ... Roger Kong
Robert Shield Robert Shield ... Frank
Clair Widenaar Clair Widenaar ... Jamison
Robert Costa Robert Costa ... 'Slim' Novak


A woman who believes her missing husband is in prison in Hawaii on a murder charge travels there to see if it actually is him. However, he escapes before she sees him, when he hears that his current girlfriend has been murdered. The wife searches the slum area of Honolulu known as Hell's Half Acre for him, he searches for his girlfriend's killer, and his gangland associates are looking for the two of them. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TOUGHEST SPOT IN THE SIN-SWEPT PACIFIC! (original print ad-all caps) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 June 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les bas-fonds d'Hawaï See more »

Filming Locations:

Honolulu, O'ahu, Hawaii, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Written by Jack Pitman (as Jack Pittman)
Sung by The Kaumakapili Choir
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User Reviews

Aloha Oy Vez
7 March 2013 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

It's almost mandatory that when you film in Hawaii you film in color. But that would have put Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures on the horns of a dilemma. They were making a noir film set in Honolulu which is most often done in black and white anyway. And Yates was trying mightily to keep his studio afloat with the advent of television which overtaking Republic's bread and butter, B westerns.

Evelyn Keyes and Wendell Corey star in this film where Evelyn hears that the husband she thought lost on the Arizona in December of 1941 is on trial for murder in Honolulu. She goes to Hawaii to investigate. Corey the long lost husband is now a syndicate big shot and has confessed to killing a former partner. A third partner Philip Ahn is looking to take advantage of the situation and inherit all of Corey's assets.

No sooner does Keyes arrive in Hawaii than she's hip deep in the case when she tries to visit Corey's current girlfriend Nancy Gates. She spots Ahn near the home where he has just recently murdered Gates. That puts both Corey on a personal hunt and the Honolulu PD on a hunt for Ahn.

I have to say that while Ahn has played villains before, he was never quite as brutal as he is in this film. His opposite number Keye Luke plays Honolulu's chief of police and he's a wise and compassionate soul and really in the end comes through for Keyes. Corey also does the decent thing in the end.

A couple of other interesting roles are Jesse White as a hapless drunken gunsill and his slattern of a wife Marie Windsor who next to Gloria Grahame played the most tramps of the Fifties.

Some story plot holes that you could have driven the Arizona through when it was afloat unfortunately mar Hell's Half Acre. But the characterizations are just fine. I only wish that color had been used because having been to Hawaii black and white doesn't do it justice.

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