The Crooked Way (1949)

90 mins | Film noir | 22 April 1949

Director:

Robert Florey

Cinematographer:

John Alton

Editor:

Frank Sullivan

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

La Brea Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

A pre-production news item in Var stated that Norman Reilly Raine was writing the film's script; however, his contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. The radio air date of Robert Monroe's play was not found. Monroe was the writer and director of a thriller-drama show called High Adventure , which was broadcast on the Mutual network during the 1947--1948 season, and it is possible that "No Blade Too Sharp" was an episode of this show. As noted in a modern source, Monroe's radio stories were told by members of a "High Adventure Society," who liked stories of "hard action, hard men and smooth women." In mid-Nov 1948, HR announced that Shelley Winters was to star opposite John Payne, and in late Nov 1948, Jeanne Cagney was announced as his co-star.
       According to the film's MPAA/PCA file at the AMPAS Library, PCA director Joseph I. Breen requested that producer Benedict Bogeaus "considerably reduce the brutality" in the film, specifically the scene in which "Eddie" is beaten. The PCA Office would not administer a certificate of approval until the action of a man "stamping on Eddie after he has fallen down the ladder" was omitted. As noted in a modern source, much of the film was shot at night in various Los Angeles ... More Less

A pre-production news item in Var stated that Norman Reilly Raine was writing the film's script; however, his contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. The radio air date of Robert Monroe's play was not found. Monroe was the writer and director of a thriller-drama show called High Adventure , which was broadcast on the Mutual network during the 1947--1948 season, and it is possible that "No Blade Too Sharp" was an episode of this show. As noted in a modern source, Monroe's radio stories were told by members of a "High Adventure Society," who liked stories of "hard action, hard men and smooth women." In mid-Nov 1948, HR announced that Shelley Winters was to star opposite John Payne, and in late Nov 1948, Jeanne Cagney was announced as his co-star.
       According to the film's MPAA/PCA file at the AMPAS Library, PCA director Joseph I. Breen requested that producer Benedict Bogeaus "considerably reduce the brutality" in the film, specifically the scene in which "Eddie" is beaten. The PCA Office would not administer a certificate of approval until the action of a man "stamping on Eddie after he has fallen down the ladder" was omitted. As noted in a modern source, much of the film was shot at night in various Los Angeles locations. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 May 1949.
---
Daily Variety
26 Apr 49
p. 4.
Film Daily
2 May 49
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 48
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Nov 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 48
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 48
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 49
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 May 49
p. 4598.
New York Times
5 Sep 49
p. 13.
Variety
20 Oct 1948.
---
Variety
27 Apr 49
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Asst to prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cine
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Women's ward
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd tech
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod assoc
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the radio play No Blade Too Sharp by Robert Monroe (broadcast date undetermined).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 April 1949
Production Date:
late November--mid December 1948 at General Service Studios
Copyright Claimant:
La Brea Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 April 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2289
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in feet):
8,063
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13659
SYNOPSIS

Eddie Rice, a veteran suffering from amnesia, returns to Los Angeles from a San Francisco veterans hospital hoping to learn who he is and discovers that he is a gangster named Eddie Riccardi and has a police record. Although he does not know it, five years earlier, Eddie was acquitted of murder after turning state's evidence for homicide detective Lieutenant Joe Williams. His partner, Vince Alexander, took the "rap" and spent two years in prison. On a Los Angeles street, a woman recognizes Eddie and reports him to Vince, who sends his thugs to beat up Eddie. Holding an old newspaper clipping announcing the verdict that put him in jail, Vince confronts Eddie about the past and gives him one day to leave town. After Eddie returns to San Francisco to see his doctor, Kemble, he reads the newspaper clipping and discovers that the woman who recognized him was Nina Martin, a nightclub singer who refused to testify against him at the trial. Returning to Los Angeles, Eddie visits Nina and, after explaining to her that he has amnesia, pleads with her to tell him about his past. Nina reveals that she was his wife, but divorced him three years ago and now works for Vince. Nina bitterly shows Eddie a scar on her shoulder where he once burned her in a rage. Meanwhile, Vince murders Kelly, a gangster whom Williams had hoped to use as an informant. Although Vince later orders Nina to keep Eddie in town, she is beginning to fall in love with the reformed gangster and warns him to leave. Instead, Eddie goes to Vince's gambling house, the ... +


Eddie Rice, a veteran suffering from amnesia, returns to Los Angeles from a San Francisco veterans hospital hoping to learn who he is and discovers that he is a gangster named Eddie Riccardi and has a police record. Although he does not know it, five years earlier, Eddie was acquitted of murder after turning state's evidence for homicide detective Lieutenant Joe Williams. His partner, Vince Alexander, took the "rap" and spent two years in prison. On a Los Angeles street, a woman recognizes Eddie and reports him to Vince, who sends his thugs to beat up Eddie. Holding an old newspaper clipping announcing the verdict that put him in jail, Vince confronts Eddie about the past and gives him one day to leave town. After Eddie returns to San Francisco to see his doctor, Kemble, he reads the newspaper clipping and discovers that the woman who recognized him was Nina Martin, a nightclub singer who refused to testify against him at the trial. Returning to Los Angeles, Eddie visits Nina and, after explaining to her that he has amnesia, pleads with her to tell him about his past. Nina reveals that she was his wife, but divorced him three years ago and now works for Vince. Nina bitterly shows Eddie a scar on her shoulder where he once burned her in a rage. Meanwhile, Vince murders Kelly, a gangster whom Williams had hoped to use as an informant. Although Vince later orders Nina to keep Eddie in town, she is beginning to fall in love with the reformed gangster and warns him to leave. Instead, Eddie goes to Vince's gambling house, the Golden Horn, to retrieve Nina, who is a hostess there. Williams, meanwhile, learns that Eddie is suffering from amnesia and goes to the Golden Horn to pick him up. There, Williams accuses Vince of Kelly's murder, and is himself shot dead by Vince. Later, Eddie wakes up and finds himself in Williams' car, holding the murder weapon, and flees. As a dragnet goes out for him, Eddie picks up Nina, then steals a gun from a gunshop before hiding out at the apartment of Hazel, one of the women from Vince's nightclub. One of Vince's henchmen, Coke, who is Hazel's boyfriend, enters her apartment and shoots Nina in the shoulder, then is shot dead by Eddie. Eddie rushes Nina to a doctor, who calls the police, but allows Eddie time to escape. Eddie goes to Vince's warehouse hideout to wait for him and meets Petey, Vince's weak-minded assistant, who has turned informer. Eddie tells a taxi driver who he is in order to lure the police to the warehouse. When Vince returns, he and Eddie engage in a gunfight, and as the police approach, Vince shoots Petey. Out of bullets, Eddie starts a fistfight with Vince and is knocked out. Vince then drags Eddie out to face the police, but Williams' partner, Captain Anderson, knows Eddie is innocent. Petey crawls out of the warehouse and shoots Vince, who returns his fire, killing him. Vince then shoots at the police and is gunned down. Later, Eddie visits Nina in the hospital, and she tells him that he will always be Eddie Rice and kisses him. +

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.