The Pretender (1947)

69-70 mins | Film noir | 16 August 1947

Director:

W. Lee Wilder

Writer:

Don Martin

Producer:

W. Lee Wilder

Cinematographer:

John Alton

Editor:

Asa Boyd Clark

Production Designer:

F. Paul Sylos

Production Company:

W. W. Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Backfire ... More Less

The working title of this film was Backfire . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
30 Aug 1947.
---
Daily Variety
25 Jun 1947.
---
Daily Variety
22 Aug 1947.
---
Film Daily
27 Aug 47
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 47
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 47
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Apr 47
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Apr 47
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 47
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Aug 1947.
---
New York Times
12 Aug 47
p. 26.
Variety
20 Aug 47
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Film ed
COSTUMES
Cost supv
MUSIC
Theremin eff
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Backfire
Release Date:
16 August 1947
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 11 August 1947
Production Date:
mid March--mid April 1947 at Nassour Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Republic Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
28 July 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1166
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
69-70
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12376
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In deep financial straits and short $70,000 that he owes his client, Charles Lennox, crooked stock broker Kenneth Holden instructs his secretary to dip into money from other accounts, including that of the wealthy Claire Worthington. He also goes ahead with his scheme to increase his riches by marrying Claire. Holden goes on a date with Claire, but his marriage proposal is interrupted by Lennox, who insists that they meet at the West Side Café. There, Holden finds Lennox seated with his former secretary, Evelyn Cossett, and her friend, Flo Ronson. Flo, a former sweetheart of café owner and gangster Victor Korrin, believes that Korrin had her new boyfriend run down by a car that day, and threatens to harm him if her boyfriend dies. Holden later returns to Claire's and completes his marriage proposal, but when she tells him that she is in love with another man, and refuses to reveal his identity, he decides to hire Korrin to find out who the man is and have him killed. Korrin agrees to arrange the murder for $20,000, and waits for the newspapers to run a picture of Claire's lover so that his gunman, Fingers, will be able to identify his victim. A short time later, Claire decides not to marry her fiancé, Dr. Leonard Koster, because she does not want to be a physician's wife. Claire then arranges a hasty wedding with Holden, who places a frantic call to Korrin to call off the murder. Unable to contact Korrin, Holden begins to worry when he sees himself pictured with Claire in the newspapers the next day and realizes that Fingers will try to ... +


In deep financial straits and short $70,000 that he owes his client, Charles Lennox, crooked stock broker Kenneth Holden instructs his secretary to dip into money from other accounts, including that of the wealthy Claire Worthington. He also goes ahead with his scheme to increase his riches by marrying Claire. Holden goes on a date with Claire, but his marriage proposal is interrupted by Lennox, who insists that they meet at the West Side Café. There, Holden finds Lennox seated with his former secretary, Evelyn Cossett, and her friend, Flo Ronson. Flo, a former sweetheart of café owner and gangster Victor Korrin, believes that Korrin had her new boyfriend run down by a car that day, and threatens to harm him if her boyfriend dies. Holden later returns to Claire's and completes his marriage proposal, but when she tells him that she is in love with another man, and refuses to reveal his identity, he decides to hire Korrin to find out who the man is and have him killed. Korrin agrees to arrange the murder for $20,000, and waits for the newspapers to run a picture of Claire's lover so that his gunman, Fingers, will be able to identify his victim. A short time later, Claire decides not to marry her fiancé, Dr. Leonard Koster, because she does not want to be a physician's wife. Claire then arranges a hasty wedding with Holden, who places a frantic call to Korrin to call off the murder. Unable to contact Korrin, Holden begins to worry when he sees himself pictured with Claire in the newspapers the next day and realizes that Fingers will try to kill him. Holden eventually finds Korrin, but when Korrin insists on their meeting with Fingers in person, refusing to use the telephone to call off the hit, Holden realizes that his life will remain in danger until he does so. Complications arise when Flo, seeking to avenge the death of her boyfriend, shoots and kills Korrin before he can call off the hit. While Holden tries to find Fingers, Fingers tries to get a fix on Holden by placing a new butler in the Worthington home. Holden becomes increasingly suspicious of the help, and when he shaves off his mustache to alter his appearance, Claire enlists the help of her ex-fiancé to find out why he has been behaving so strangely. After Koster searches through Holden's belongings and finds food hidden in his room, he privately tells Claire that Holden may be a "paranoiac." One night, Holden, unable to bear the suspense of his impending murder, fires his gun at a suspicious-looking man standing outside his window and flees. Claire and Koster go after him, and watch in horror as Holden is killed when his car goes over an embankment. Fingers, who has been following Holden, gives Claire an envelope containing the money Korrin gave him, and tells her that he only wanted to return the money for a business deal that fell through. +

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.