The Clay Pigeon (1949)

62-63 mins | Drama | March 1949

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HISTORY

The Clay Pigeon was the first film to be produced at RKO under millionaire aviator Howard Hughes's new directorship. According to HR, Lawrence Tierney was first slated to star in this picture, and Sid Rogell was to produce it. Modern sources note that Carl Foreman's story was inspired by an actual incident in which a former serviceman recognized his Japanese prison guard in Los Angeles. ...

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The Clay Pigeon was the first film to be produced at RKO under millionaire aviator Howard Hughes's new directorship. According to HR, Lawrence Tierney was first slated to star in this picture, and Sid Rogell was to produce it. Modern sources note that Carl Foreman's story was inspired by an actual incident in which a former serviceman recognized his Japanese prison guard in Los Angeles.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Feb 1949
---
Daily Variety
9 Feb 1949
p. 3
Film Daily
14 Feb 1949
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1948
p. 13
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 1948
p. 17
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 1949
p. 3
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Feb 1949
p. 4493
Variety
9 Feb 1949
p. 13
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Richard Fleischer
Dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Albert S. D'Agostino
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
MUSIC
C. Bakaleinikoff
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Dick Kinon
Scr supv
Grip
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1949
Production Date:
late Sep--mid Oct 1948
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
22 February 1949
LP2169
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
62-63
Length(in feet):
5,655
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13460
SYNOPSIS

At the Long Beach Naval Hospital, Seaman First Class Jim Fletcher finally wakes from a coma, two years after he was injured in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Jim remembers only his name and is disturbed to hear that he has been accused of murderous treason and is scheduled to face a court-martial. That night, the still groggy Jim sneaks out of the hospital and heads for San Diego. News of Jim's escape reaches the U.S. Navy Zone Intelligence Office in Los Angeles, which issues an all-points bulletin for his capture. In San Diego, Jim contacts Martha Gregory, the wife of his best friend Mark, with whom he was imprisoned in the Philippines. Unaware that he has been identified in the newspaper as Mark's killer, Jim introduces himself to Martha, and she feigns friendliness toward him. As Martha is about to call the police, however, Jim realizes his mistake and knocks her out. Later, Jim tries to convince the bound and gagged Martha that he did not inform on her husband for stealing rations from the Japanese guards, a revelation that led to his death, but she continues to fight him. Desperate, Jim calls Ted Niles, a trusted seaman with whom he and Mark were imprisoned, and makes plans to meet him in Los Angeles. Using Mark's gun, Jim forces Martha to drive him to Los Angeles, but along the way, her car is almost run off the road by two men in another vehicle. After Jim passes out at the wheel, Martha notices scars from a severe whipping on his chest and finally believes his story. Stopping at an ...

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At the Long Beach Naval Hospital, Seaman First Class Jim Fletcher finally wakes from a coma, two years after he was injured in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Jim remembers only his name and is disturbed to hear that he has been accused of murderous treason and is scheduled to face a court-martial. That night, the still groggy Jim sneaks out of the hospital and heads for San Diego. News of Jim's escape reaches the U.S. Navy Zone Intelligence Office in Los Angeles, which issues an all-points bulletin for his capture. In San Diego, Jim contacts Martha Gregory, the wife of his best friend Mark, with whom he was imprisoned in the Philippines. Unaware that he has been identified in the newspaper as Mark's killer, Jim introduces himself to Martha, and she feigns friendliness toward him. As Martha is about to call the police, however, Jim realizes his mistake and knocks her out. Later, Jim tries to convince the bound and gagged Martha that he did not inform on her husband for stealing rations from the Japanese guards, a revelation that led to his death, but she continues to fight him. Desperate, Jim calls Ted Niles, a trusted seaman with whom he and Mark were imprisoned, and makes plans to meet him in Los Angeles. Using Mark's gun, Jim forces Martha to drive him to Los Angeles, but along the way, her car is almost run off the road by two men in another vehicle. After Jim passes out at the wheel, Martha notices scars from a severe whipping on his chest and finally believes his story. Stopping at an Oceanside trailer camp, Martha nurses Jim back to health, then insists on accompanying him to Los Angeles. There, while dining at a Chinatown restaurant with Martha, Jim sees Ken Tokoyama, a vicious guard known as "The Weasel" at the prison camp where he was held. Sure that Tokoyama is somehow involved in his troubles, Jim tries to confront him, but loses him in a Chinatown crowd. Later, after the two men from the highway suddenly appear at the restaurant, Jim tells Ted about Tokoyama. Concerned, Ted advises Jim not to leave his hotel and agrees to meet with Martha at his apartment. Ted tells Martha that he has hired a private detective to find Tokoyama and insists that Jim stay low. Jim, however, returns to the restaurant and, seeing a real estate sign on the outside wall, makes inquiries about Tokoyama at the posting agency. Unknown to Jim, the agency is a front for Tokoyama, and he is almost caught by the ex-guard and his two henchmen. Later at their hotel, Jim and Martha receive word from Ted that Tokoyama has booked a train for that night. When Jim arrives at the specified train car, however, he is surprised to find not only Tokoyama there, but Ted as well. Ted implicates himself in Mark's death and admits that, since the end of the war, he and Tokoyama have been involved in a lucrative, illegal business. As Ted and Tokoyama then plan Jim's impending "fall" from the train, Martha uncovers Ted's duplicity and alerts the Navy Zone Intelligence Office, which has been trailing her and Jim, to his predicament. Back on the train, Jim is about to be pushed to his death when the police order an emergency stop and arrest Ted and Tokoyama. Later, after they learn that Ted and Tokoyama were involved in a multi-million dollar counterfeiting scheme, Jim and Martha announce their marriage plans.

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

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