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Blind Alley

Blind Alley
Movie: Blind Alley(1939)[tt0031104] Following a prison break, Hal Wilson, a ruthless killer takes refuge in the home of a psychiatrist, Dr. Shelby. While Wilson is attempting to make a safe getaway, Dr. Shelby is busily trying to analyze his captor and find out just what, in his dark past, made him the man he now has become. Written byLes Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>
Title Blind Alley
Release Date 11 May 1939 (USA)
Runtime
Genres Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Production Companies Columbia Pictures
Chester Morris
Chester Morris...
Hal Wilson...
Ralph Bellamy
Ralph Bellamy...
Dr. Shelby...
Ann Dvorak
Ann Dvorak...
Mary...
Joan Perry
Joan Perry...
Linda Curtis...
Melville Cooper
Melville Cooper...
George Curtis...
Rose Stradner
Rose Stradner...
Doris Shelby...
John Eldredge
John Eldredge...
Dick Holbrook (a...
Ann Doran
Ann Doran...
Agnes...
Marc Lawrence
Marc Lawrence...
Buck...
Stanley Brown
Stanley Brown...
Fred Landis...
Scotty Beckett
Scotty Beckett...
Davy...
Milburn Stone
Milburn Stone...
Nick...
Marie Blake
Marie Blake...
Harriet...

Reviews

noir guy on 14 November 2006
Director Charles 'GILDA' Vidor's psychological crime drama has a few interesting touches as hard-boiled gangster Hal Wilson (Chester 'BOSTON BLACKIE' Morris) breaks out of jail, kills the warden and, together with his gang, hides out at psychology professor Dr. Shelby's (Ralph Bellamy) riverside home and holds him and his dinner party guests hostage whilst awaiting the boat to take them across the river to freedom. During a long dark night of the soul - and after Wilson has demonstrated his trigger-happy nature by murdering one of the male guests who stands up to him - Shelby manages to psychoanalyse the violent hoodlum and discovers what made him who he is. If this sounds somewhat familiar to crime movie buffs it's because it was remade nine years later as THE DARK PAST (with, respectively, William Holden and Lee J. Cobb in the principal roles of gangster and shrink) when the post-War trend for psychoanalysis may have lent it greater resonance. The culture clash elements in BLIND ALLEY would probably have resonated more with an audience of the day familiar with the narrative and thematic tropes of the earlier THE PETRIFIED FOREST but what makes this interesting today are some interesting stylistic touches like Wilson's recurring nightmare shown in reverse negative and his final recovered memory revealed in subjective I-camera point of view. Otherwise, the film never really betrays its origins as a stage play and often feels rather static and talky even with a running time of just over an hour. Still, it's interesting to see a couple of now almost forgotten 30s stars like Chester Morris and Ann 'SCARFACE' Dvorak as the hard-boiled gangster and his moll as well as a film attempting to do something different with the crime movie staples of the day even if it all inevitably seems a shade simplistic and formulaic in these more morally compromised times. However, it's an elusive title these days and is still recommended to fans of vintage crime movies who get the chance to see it.

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