6.2/10
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19 user 2 critic

Key Witness (1960)

In Los Angeles, a brave witness to murder agrees to testify in court against the street gang leader who's desperate to silence him.

Director:

Phil Karlson

Writers:

Alfred Brenner (screenplay), Sidney Michaels (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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When ranch hand Tod Lohman accidentally kills the son of a powerful rancher, he panics and flees, but the rancher and his vengeful crew hunt Tod down.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jeffrey Hunter ... Fred Morrow
Pat Crowley ... Ann Morrow
Dennis Hopper ... William 'Cowboy' Tomkins
Joby Baker ... Muggles
Susan Harrison ... Ruby
Johnny Nash ... Apple
Corey Allen ... Magician
Frank Silvera ... Det. Rafael Torno
Bruce Gordon ... Arthur Robbins
Terry Burnham Terry Burnham ... Gloria Morrow
Dennis Holmes ... Phil Morrow
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hilda Haynes Hilda Haynes ... Apple's Mother (unconfirmed)
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Storyline

An average Los Angeles citizen witnesses a gang murder when he stops to use a telephone. Aware that he is the only witness against them, the gang members seek out his identity and terrorize him and his family to keep him from testifying against them. Only by psychologically playing one gang member against the others is the man able to bring the police to his rescue. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Marked for Death-Because He Knew Too Much! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 October 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Wölfe von Los Angeles See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$857,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$360,000, 31 December 1960

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$810,000, 31 December 1960
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Avon Productions (II) See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is often considered to be the first neo-noir. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Fred Morrow: Torno do me a favor. Stay as sweet as you are.
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Soundtracks

Ruby Duby Doo
Written by Charles Wolcott
Performed by Charles Wolcott conducting the MGM Studio Orchestra
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User Reviews

Good Los Angeles Locations
14 October 2011 | by jimdddddSee all my reviews

By the late 1950s film noir was dead but the juvenile delinquent thriller, originally inspired by the novels of Hal Ellson from ten years earlier ("Duke," "The Golden Spike," etc), was thriving on the B-movie circuit. But MGM and producer Pandro Berman, perhaps hoping to repeat their 1955 success with "Blackboard Jungle," tried to blow "Key Witness" up into an A-movie, widescreen Cinemascope, "Rebel Without a Cause" alumni (Hopper, Corey Allen), and all. Though the plot relies on sometimes ridiculous turns (in one maddening scene, a deputy runs into a courtroom interrupting testimony) and the characters are mostly cartoons (Muggles certainly lives up to the first syllable in his name), director Phil Karlson's decision to shoot on the streets of Los Angeles keeps everything moderately realistic. The opening scene, set in a hilly slum neighborhood just north of City Hall in the Chinatown area (though it looks like old Bunker Hill and is referred to as "East L.A." in the film), immediately puts the viewer into the middle of the action and the period. If this film had been shot on a soundstage, as "Blackboard Jungle" was, it would have fallen apart within the first ten minutes, but once again L.A. saves the day. If you love the atmosphere of on-location films from this era, you'll enjoy the sensation of sitting through "Key Witness."


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