The Dark Past (1949)

Drama | January 1949

Director:

Rudolph Maté

Producer:

Buddy Adler

Cinematographer:

Joseph Walker

Editor:

Viola Lawrence

Production Designer:

Cary Odell

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's working titles were Hearsay and Blind Alley . The opening scenes of the film were shot using a subjective camera technique and shown from the point of view of "Dr. Andrew Collins." The dream sequence was printed on negative film. A 10 May 1948 DV news item reported that Columbia was negotiating with Veronica Lake to star. Lee J. Cobb was loaned to Columbia by Twentieth-Century Fox. James Warwick's play was also the basis for the 1939 Columbia film Dark Alley , which was directed by Charles Vidor and starred Ralph Bellamy and Chester Morris (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0381). The screenwriters of that film are also credited with the screenplay of this version. Televised performances of the play include the 1949 Studio One production, directed by Paul Nickell and starring Jerome Thor and Bramwell Fletcher, which aired on the CBS television network on 30 Jan 1949; the Broadway Television Theatre production, starring Roy Hargrove and Beverly Roberts, which aired on non-network television on 15 Sep 1952; and the Kraft Theatre production, starring Darren McGavin and Herbert Berghof, which aired on the NBC television network on 10 Jun ... More Less

The film's working titles were Hearsay and Blind Alley . The opening scenes of the film were shot using a subjective camera technique and shown from the point of view of "Dr. Andrew Collins." The dream sequence was printed on negative film. A 10 May 1948 DV news item reported that Columbia was negotiating with Veronica Lake to star. Lee J. Cobb was loaned to Columbia by Twentieth-Century Fox. James Warwick's play was also the basis for the 1939 Columbia film Dark Alley , which was directed by Charles Vidor and starred Ralph Bellamy and Chester Morris (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0381). The screenwriters of that film are also credited with the screenplay of this version. Televised performances of the play include the 1949 Studio One production, directed by Paul Nickell and starring Jerome Thor and Bramwell Fletcher, which aired on the CBS television network on 30 Jan 1949; the Broadway Television Theatre production, starring Roy Hargrove and Beverly Roberts, which aired on non-network television on 15 Sep 1952; and the Kraft Theatre production, starring Darren McGavin and Herbert Berghof, which aired on the NBC television network on 10 Jun 1954. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Jan 1949.
---
Daily Variety
10-May-48
---
Daily Variety
24 Dec 48
p. 4.
Film Daily
24 Dec 48
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 48
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 48
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Dec 48
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Jan 49
p. 4441-42.
New York Times
23 Dec 48
p. 25.
Variety
29 Dec 48
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOUND
Sd eng
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Blind Alley by James Warwick (New York, 24 Sep 1935).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Hearsay
Blind Alley
Release Date:
January 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 December 1948
Production Date:
21 May--21 Junee 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
7 January 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2034
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Length(in feet):
6,662
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

After observing a police lineup, Dr. Andrew Collins, a police psychiatrist, focuses on a young man whom he believes he can help overcome the deep hurt that causes him to act as a criminal. When a colleague questions his ability to redeem criminals, Collins tells him the story of how he came to work for the police: Several years earlier, Collins had been a practicing psychiatrist and college professor. One weekend, he, his wife Ruth, and his son Bobby leave for their cabin in the country. That same day, murderer Al Walker escapes from jail, holding the warden hostage. After killing the warden, Walker, his girl Betty, and two henchmen decide to use the Collins house as their hiding place, believing that the police will be less likely to look for them there than at a neighboring empty cabin. The Collinses are entertaining Frank and Laura Stevens and Laura's friend, Owen Talbot. The brutal, contemptuous Walker ties the servants up in the basement and sends everyone except Collins upstairs to wait. Collins watches Walker closely, which makes the criminal nervous, and he then explains that his profession involves careful observation. After a few hours, Collins' fellow professor, Fred Linder, stops by to deliver a hunting rifle and notices Walker's shoes behind a curtain. Linder attempts to shoot Walker, but Walker stops him, and in the process, the gun goes off, wounding Linder. Despite himself, Walker is drawn to Collins' books on psychology, so Collins explains the conscious and subconscious mind. When Walker falls asleep, Collins discusses him with Betty, who tells the psychiatrist that Walker continually dreams ... +


After observing a police lineup, Dr. Andrew Collins, a police psychiatrist, focuses on a young man whom he believes he can help overcome the deep hurt that causes him to act as a criminal. When a colleague questions his ability to redeem criminals, Collins tells him the story of how he came to work for the police: Several years earlier, Collins had been a practicing psychiatrist and college professor. One weekend, he, his wife Ruth, and his son Bobby leave for their cabin in the country. That same day, murderer Al Walker escapes from jail, holding the warden hostage. After killing the warden, Walker, his girl Betty, and two henchmen decide to use the Collins house as their hiding place, believing that the police will be less likely to look for them there than at a neighboring empty cabin. The Collinses are entertaining Frank and Laura Stevens and Laura's friend, Owen Talbot. The brutal, contemptuous Walker ties the servants up in the basement and sends everyone except Collins upstairs to wait. Collins watches Walker closely, which makes the criminal nervous, and he then explains that his profession involves careful observation. After a few hours, Collins' fellow professor, Fred Linder, stops by to deliver a hunting rifle and notices Walker's shoes behind a curtain. Linder attempts to shoot Walker, but Walker stops him, and in the process, the gun goes off, wounding Linder. Despite himself, Walker is drawn to Collins' books on psychology, so Collins explains the conscious and subconscious mind. When Walker falls asleep, Collins discusses him with Betty, who tells the psychiatrist that Walker continually dreams that he is caught in a rainstorm and cannot get away. He stands under an umbrella with a hole in it and tries to keep the rain out with his hand, but his hand becomes paralyzed. When he tries to leave the umbrella, he is stopped by bars that suddenly surround him. After Walker awakens, Collins talks with him about his dream and offers to help him get rid of it forever. He encourages Walker to examine his childhood for clues to the meaning of the dream, and eventually Walker realizes that the bars represent policemen's legs; the umbrella, a table; and the rain, blood. Walker then recalls that one night, when he was angry at his brutal father, he reported him to the police and led them to the bar where his father was hiding. In the ensuing shootout, his father died on the table under which Walker had taken refuge, and blood leaked through a crack in the table. Walker's hand became paralyzed when he tried to stop the blood and he was prevented from leaving by the police who were surrounding the table. While Walter is relating his story, the servants loosen their bonds and bring the police. Walker plans to shoot his way out even though Collins tells him that his new self-knowledge will make it impossible for him to kill again. Walker realizes Collins is right when his paralyzed hand suddenly relaxes. Having told his story, Collins asks that the young man in the lineup be allowed to get the help that he needs, and his colleague agrees. +

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.