I Walk Alone Film Details
Overview: Frankie Madison leaves prison expecting a share from his ex-partner. But Prohibition bootlegging didn’t prepare Frankie for Big Business.
Tagline: Once I trusted a dame… now I Walk Alone
Review: Copyright 29 July 1947 by Hal Wallis Productions, Inc. Released through Paramount Pictures. New York opening at the Paramount: 21 January 1948. U.S. release: 16 January 1948. U.K. release: 19 January 1948. Australian release: 18 March 1948. Sydney opening at the Prince Edward: 5 March 1948 (ran three weeks). 8,771 feet. 97 minutes. SYNOPSIS: After serving time in jail, Frankie Madison demands a half-share in a nightclub from his old partner, Noll Turner. NOTES: The stage play opened on Broadway at the Coronet on 27 October 1945, closing after only 25 performances. Paul Kelly had the Burt Lancaster part, while Luther Adler played the heavy. Also cast: Dorothy Comingore, Adrienne Ames, Herbert Berghof, Tom Pedi, George Mathews, E.G. Marshall and Arthur Hunnicutt. Oscar Serlin produced, Harold Clurman directed. COMMENT: The writers have come up with a few fascinating new angles on the classic convict-seeks-revenge plot, turning what could have been merely another gangster story into an engrossing film noir that rivets the attention from start to finish. The sharp dialogue and zesty characterizations of the play have been fleshed out by superlative performances all around. Lancaster is exactly right as the bitter ex-con, an innocent in a now-too-sophisticated world of shady finance. His nemesis is powerfully represented by Kirk Douglas, here reprising his ruthless heavy from Out of the Past. Although she has unjustly copped a fair amount of downgrading from jealous critics, sultry Lizabeth Scott is at her most stylishly convincing best as the put-upon heroine. Also compelling are wonderfully glum-faced Wendell Corey as the harassed accountant who cooks Douglas’s books, and George Rigaud as the schemer’s confidant. Good to see George in a decent-sized role for once. Other appealing contributors include Kristine Miller as a socialite with a yen for low life; Marc Lawrence as Burt’s sympathetic pal (for a switch, Marc is operating on the right side here, even if still on the shady ledger of the law); Mike Mazurki as the doorman-bouncer, also sympathetic to the hero’s plight, but nonetheless loyal to his current employer. Mike, in his best role since Moose Malloy, enjoys some of the script’s best lines: “Did you see that right hook he caught me with? I always liked the guy. Fifteen years ago, he was the greatest!” The movie is nothing if not superbly lit. The visuals are often quite excitingly photographed and composed. In fact, as usual with Hal Wallis productions, production values are first-class, with really outstanding technical credits, including the appealing seats, attractive costumes, and one of Victor Young’s most lovely scores. OTHER VIEWS: This one was written by “George Addison”, a pseudonym I used years ago for various newspapers and magazines. My opinions may have changed in the meantime, but the review was valid when it was written and deserves to be reprinted. In fact, I’ve had people write to me that they preferred George Addison’s insights to my own! Like Casablanca, here’s another excellent example of an unsuccessful stage play translated into an outstanding movie. And like Casablanca, the credit belongs mainly to producer Hal Wallis who saw potential in the original property and then oversaw its repackaging as a film. In this case, he even persuaded Byron Haskin to resume directing after a break of twenty years in special effects. Haskin has induced solid performances not only from the principals and co-stars but even from minor players like Mickey Knox as the abrasive Skinner and Olin Howlin in a brief bit as a night-watchman. (And is that former cowboy star Jack Perrin in a silent walk-on as the cop who looks over the parked taxi?) The screenplay incorporates several unusual elements for a film noir. Involved corporate structures, designed to freeze out the Lancaster character, successfully defeat his quest for vengeance. But the ex-con is also sidetracked by a heavy romantic entanglement with a voluptuous but increasingly sympathetic siren. The conventional roles of vulnerably innocent heroine and sexy femme fatale are here skillfully rolled into one. It says much for Lizabeth Scott’s utterly convincing portrayal that her playing of this difficult, complicated role never once falters or strikes a single wrong note. In addition to its proud ensemble acting, I Walk Alone also benefits from masterfully realized sets, costumes, lighting and music scoring. This is a film with atmosphere. In spades.
Country: United States
Language: English, French
Duration: 97 min
Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
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