Crime Wave (1954)

71 or 73-74 mins | Melodrama | 6 March 1954

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HISTORY

The working titles of the film were Don't Cry, Baby and The City Is Dark . According to a Feb 1951 HR news item, Warner Bros. originally assigned Rudi Fehr to produce the film. An Oct 1952 DV news item reported that Steve Cochran was cast in the Gene Nelson role. According to Warner Bros. production notes, portions of the film were shot in the Los Angeles Police Department's Homicide Division and its radio broadcasting room. Landmarks in Glendale, CA, and Los Angeles appear in the film, including a Bank of America, the Glendale Grand Central Air Terminal and the Bunker Hill neighborhood of Los Angeles. A May 1953 LADN article reported that director Andre De Toth made use of Los Angeles smog to create mood in the picture. Crime Wave marked singer-dancer Gene Nelson's first non-musical ... More Less

The working titles of the film were Don't Cry, Baby and The City Is Dark . According to a Feb 1951 HR news item, Warner Bros. originally assigned Rudi Fehr to produce the film. An Oct 1952 DV news item reported that Steve Cochran was cast in the Gene Nelson role. According to Warner Bros. production notes, portions of the film were shot in the Los Angeles Police Department's Homicide Division and its radio broadcasting room. Landmarks in Glendale, CA, and Los Angeles appear in the film, including a Bank of America, the Glendale Grand Central Air Terminal and the Bunker Hill neighborhood of Los Angeles. A May 1953 LADN article reported that director Andre De Toth made use of Los Angeles smog to create mood in the picture. Crime Wave marked singer-dancer Gene Nelson's first non-musical role. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
16 Jan 1954.
---
Daily Variety
23 Oct 1952.
---
Daily Variety
13 Jan 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Jan 54
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 1951.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Nov 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 52
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 53
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 54
p. 3.
Los Angeles Daily News
5 May 1953.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
16 Jan 54
p. 2142.
New York Times
13 Jan 54
p. 26.
Time
13 Jul 1953.
---
Variety
13 Jan 54
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Criminal's Mark" by John Hawkins and Ward Hawkins in The Saturday Evening Post (8 Apr 1950).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Don't Cry, Baby
The City Is Dark
Release Date:
6 March 1954
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 13 January 1954
Production Date:
late November--mid December 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
6 March 1954
Copyright Number:
LP4543
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
71 or 73-74
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16297
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Los Angeles, escaped convicts from San Quentin, Doc Penny, Ben Hastings and Gat Morgan, hold up a gas station, and although they get away with a small amount of money, a policeman is killed and Gat is wounded. Leaving behind Gat with part of the loot and a stolen car, Doc and Hastings head south to do a robbery, hoping to trick the police into believing they are heading for San Diego. The injured Gat proceeds unannounced to the apartment of Steve Lacey, a San Quentin parolee who has gone straight. Steve, who now has a loving wife, Ellen, and a good job as an airplane mechanic, has much to lose by harboring a criminal, but is forced at gunpoint to let in Gat, who then dies in the living room. To Steve's surprise, Otto Hessler, a former physician and ex-convict whom Gat called to treat him, shows up, and after pocketing the stolen money, leaves the Laceys to deal with Gat's body. Fearing that the police will not believe in his innocence, Steve calls his parole officer, Daniel O'Keefe, for help at Ellen's urging. However, Steve convinces Ellen not to mention Hessler's appearance at their home, as having two ex-cons on the premises would look more suspicious. Meanwhile, Los Angeles police sergeant Sims has obtained an identification of the robbers from the gas station attendant and, guessing that they will contact their former prison mate Steve for help, proceeds to the Laceys' apartment. Treating Steve's story with skepticism, Sims arrests Steve and holds him for three days, but then offers to let Steve off easy if he will work with the police in locating the robbers. Although ... +


In Los Angeles, escaped convicts from San Quentin, Doc Penny, Ben Hastings and Gat Morgan, hold up a gas station, and although they get away with a small amount of money, a policeman is killed and Gat is wounded. Leaving behind Gat with part of the loot and a stolen car, Doc and Hastings head south to do a robbery, hoping to trick the police into believing they are heading for San Diego. The injured Gat proceeds unannounced to the apartment of Steve Lacey, a San Quentin parolee who has gone straight. Steve, who now has a loving wife, Ellen, and a good job as an airplane mechanic, has much to lose by harboring a criminal, but is forced at gunpoint to let in Gat, who then dies in the living room. To Steve's surprise, Otto Hessler, a former physician and ex-convict whom Gat called to treat him, shows up, and after pocketing the stolen money, leaves the Laceys to deal with Gat's body. Fearing that the police will not believe in his innocence, Steve calls his parole officer, Daniel O'Keefe, for help at Ellen's urging. However, Steve convinces Ellen not to mention Hessler's appearance at their home, as having two ex-cons on the premises would look more suspicious. Meanwhile, Los Angeles police sergeant Sims has obtained an identification of the robbers from the gas station attendant and, guessing that they will contact their former prison mate Steve for help, proceeds to the Laceys' apartment. Treating Steve's story with skepticism, Sims arrests Steve and holds him for three days, but then offers to let Steve off easy if he will work with the police in locating the robbers. Although Steve refuses, knowing that communication with his old acquaintances would endanger his new life with Ellen, Sims releases him, and the Laceys return home. Steve and Ellen's relief is short-lived when they find that Doc and Hastings, who have circled back to Los Angeles, are hiding in their apartment. To scare them away, Steve declares that the police are closely watching him, but this does not dissuade Doc, who wants Steve's help with another bank holdup in Glendale they are planning. Meanwhile, Sims confronts Hessler at the animal hospital where he now works as a veterinarian, and after tricking the drunken doctor into confessing that he was at Steve's apartment, orders him to return there to get information about the robbers. When Hessler again shows up at the Lacey apartment, Steve prevents him from entering, but Doc and Hastings overhear the conversation and Hastings trails him back to the animal hospital and kills him. A pedestrian witnesses the murder through the window and calls the police, and Steve's car, which Hastings stole, is found in the vicinity. By the time Hastings has returned to the Laceys' apartment, an all-points bulletin has been issued for Steve's arrest, and the thugs realize they must flee. Although Steve and Ellen are forced to accompany them, Steve manages to leave a cryptic note in the apartment that gives the place and time of the intended robbery. At the new hideout, Doc and Hastings reunite with two other criminals, Zenner and Johnny Haslett, who keep track of pertinent news on a police radio. By threatening Ellen's well-being, the criminals make Steve agree to drive the getaway car during the robbery, then, as he has a pilot's license, fly them to Mexico. Meanwhile, the police return to the Laceys' apartment and after searching it, find the note. On Saturday, the bank is filled with policemen disguised as bank personnel and customers, and the robbery fails. Doc, Hastings and Zenner are shot, but Steve drives off wildly through traffic. Although pursued by Sims, Steve arrives at the hideout in time to save Ellen from the psychopathic Haslett, who has heard about the failed robbery on the police channel. Steve fights Haslett, who is arrested when Sims and his men arrive. Sims also pretends to arrest Steve, but after taking Ellen and Steve away in a different police car, he scolds Steve for not calling the police when Gat first arrived on their doorstep. After admitting to Steve that he separates the good men from the bad by riding them hard, Sims drops all charges against him and sends the Laceys home to continue their lives. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.