Impact (1949)

111 mins | Drama | 1 April 1949

Director:

Arthur Lubin

Producer:

Leo C. Popkin

Cinematographer:

Ernest Laszlo

Editor:

Arthur H. Nadel

Production Designer:

Rudi Feld

Production Company:

Cardinal Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Theater owner and producer Harry M. Popkin told the 26 Jun 1948 Box Office that Impact would begin production in Aug 1948 with a $900,000 budget. He planned to film exteriors in New York City. Orson Welles discussed his participation in Impact with Popkin, according to the 11 May 1918 FD. However, neither Welles nor New York was used.
       An item in the 18 Sep 1948 Showman's Trade Review mentioned that Popkin started filming Impact on location in San Francisco, CA, on 14 Sep 1948. The company was set to return to Motion Picture Center in Los Angeles on 24 Sep 1948 to begin a month of interiors. Director of photography Ernest Laszlo and his crew were borrowed from Paramount for the production.
       According to HR news items, filming was suspended for almost two weeks on 20 Oct 1948 when actress Ella Raines became ill with a viral infection. Then, the 20 Nov 1948 Showmen's Trade Review reported that the “jinx-ridden” production was shut down again when Brian Donlevy was sent to the hospital with “an acute respiratory infection.”
       Brian Donlevy’s character lived at the Brocklebank Apartments at the corner of Mason and Sacramento streets on top of Nob Hill in San Francisco. Also visible are the neighboring landmarks of the Fairmont and Mark Hopkins hotels. The 1924 apartments were later used in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958, see entry) as the home of Kim Novak’s character and in The Woman in Red (1984, see entry) as the home of Gene Wilder’s character. Other Impact scenes were ...

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Theater owner and producer Harry M. Popkin told the 26 Jun 1948 Box Office that Impact would begin production in Aug 1948 with a $900,000 budget. He planned to film exteriors in New York City. Orson Welles discussed his participation in Impact with Popkin, according to the 11 May 1918 FD. However, neither Welles nor New York was used.
       An item in the 18 Sep 1948 Showman's Trade Review mentioned that Popkin started filming Impact on location in San Francisco, CA, on 14 Sep 1948. The company was set to return to Motion Picture Center in Los Angeles on 24 Sep 1948 to begin a month of interiors. Director of photography Ernest Laszlo and his crew were borrowed from Paramount for the production.
       According to HR news items, filming was suspended for almost two weeks on 20 Oct 1948 when actress Ella Raines became ill with a viral infection. Then, the 20 Nov 1948 Showmen's Trade Review reported that the “jinx-ridden” production was shut down again when Brian Donlevy was sent to the hospital with “an acute respiratory infection.”
       Brian Donlevy’s character lived at the Brocklebank Apartments at the corner of Mason and Sacramento streets on top of Nob Hill in San Francisco. Also visible are the neighboring landmarks of the Fairmont and Mark Hopkins hotels. The 1924 apartments were later used in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958, see entry) as the home of Kim Novak’s character and in The Woman in Red (1984, see entry) as the home of Gene Wilder’s character. Other Impact scenes were filmed in San Francisco’s Chinatown and in the Marin County towns of Sausalito and Larkspur (which stood in for the fictional “Larkspur, Idaho”).
       Impact was the next-to-last theatrical film of Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong, who had begun her career in silent films. Wong made her final movie in 1960, not long before her death the following year.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Mar 1949
---
Box Office
26 Jun 1948
p. 26
Daily Variety
15 Mar 1949
p. 3
Film Daily
16 Mar 1949
p. 4
Film Daily
11 May 1948
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 1948
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 1948
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 1948
p. 5
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 1949
p. 3
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Mar 1949
p. 4538
New York Times
21 Mar 1949
p. 19
Showmen's Trade Review
18 Sep 1948
p. 33
Showmen's Trade Review
20 Nov 1948
p. 33
Variety
16 Mar 1949
p. 11
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Harry M. Popkin Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Dorothy Reid
Scr
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Henry Schuster
Gaffer
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Furs by
MUSIC
Mus score
Orch cond by
SOUND
Sd rec
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
SOURCES
SONGS
"It Can't Be," music and lyrics by Leo C. Popkin and Chuck Gould.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 April 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 19 Mar 1949
Production Date:
14 Sep--20 Oct 1948; 2 Nov--mid Nov 1948 at Motion Pictures Center Studios
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Cardinal Pictures, Inc.
1 April 1949
LP2266
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
111
Length(in feet):
9,982
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
13584
SYNOPSIS

After delivering a passionate speech in which he convinces his company's board of directors to purchase some factories in Tahoe, California, San Francisco industrialist Walter Williams returns home to his wife Irene. Walter reenacts part of the speech for Irene, and their maid, Su Lin, mistakes it for an argument. Walter then leaves to finalize the deal, promising to call Irene on his way home. After Walter leaves, Irene phones her lover, Jim Torrence, with whom she is plotting to kill Walter, and tells him to go to Sausalito. When Walter phones Irene, she persuades him to give her cousin "Jim," who is stranded in Sausalito, a ride to his home in Denver. Walter meets Torrence and they drive for several hours before stopping at a café. While Walter is inside, Torrence sabotages one of Walter's tires. When the later tire blows, they stop near a steep embankment. Torrence then hits Walter on the head with a wrench, rolls his unconscious body down the slope and tosses his briefcase after him. Just then, a passing moving-van driver stops to offer help, and a panicked Torrence drives off and crashes head-on into a tanker truck full of fuel. Meanwhile, Walter regains consciousness, grabs his briefcase, climbs back up to the road and jumps into the back of the moving-van, then passes out. Later, in San Francisco, police lieutenant Tom Quincy informs Irene that Walter has been killed in the crash, as Torrence's charred remains have been mistaken for Walter's. Irene attempts to find Torrence, who was supposed to meet her at an Oakland hotel after he had killed Walter. After attempting to phone Torrence's aunt in Denver, Walter realizes ...

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After delivering a passionate speech in which he convinces his company's board of directors to purchase some factories in Tahoe, California, San Francisco industrialist Walter Williams returns home to his wife Irene. Walter reenacts part of the speech for Irene, and their maid, Su Lin, mistakes it for an argument. Walter then leaves to finalize the deal, promising to call Irene on his way home. After Walter leaves, Irene phones her lover, Jim Torrence, with whom she is plotting to kill Walter, and tells him to go to Sausalito. When Walter phones Irene, she persuades him to give her cousin "Jim," who is stranded in Sausalito, a ride to his home in Denver. Walter meets Torrence and they drive for several hours before stopping at a café. While Walter is inside, Torrence sabotages one of Walter's tires. When the later tire blows, they stop near a steep embankment. Torrence then hits Walter on the head with a wrench, rolls his unconscious body down the slope and tosses his briefcase after him. Just then, a passing moving-van driver stops to offer help, and a panicked Torrence drives off and crashes head-on into a tanker truck full of fuel. Meanwhile, Walter regains consciousness, grabs his briefcase, climbs back up to the road and jumps into the back of the moving-van, then passes out. Later, in San Francisco, police lieutenant Tom Quincy informs Irene that Walter has been killed in the crash, as Torrence's charred remains have been mistaken for Walter's. Irene attempts to find Torrence, who was supposed to meet her at an Oakland hotel after he had killed Walter. After attempting to phone Torrence's aunt in Denver, Walter realizes that he has been set up. The moving-van men later find Walter's briefcase in their truck and turn it over to the police, who check it for fingerprints and find Torrence's. Quincy then locates Torrence's residence in Berkeley and finds monogrammed handkerchiefs identical to one he saw Irene use. Checks of phone bills reveal many calls between Irene and Torrence. Quincy informs Irene that Walter's briefcase has been found and that they now suspect foul-play. Walter decides to stay on in Larkspur, the small Idaho town where he has landed, and gets a job as a mechanic in a gas station run by war widow Marsha Peters. Marsha's mother invites Walter, who now goes by the name Bill Walker, to board with them. There, Walter keeps a collection of newspaper clippings about the case and learns that the police are searching for Irene's lover. Three months later, Walter has settled down in Larkspur and started to develop a relationship with Marsha. When news comes that Irene has been charged with conspiring to kill Walter and that the police are still hunting Torrence, Walter is content to let Irene take the blame. Several weeks later, Marsha's mother accidentally finds the collection of clippings, but trusts him and says nothing to her daughter. To avoid involving Marsha, Walter decides to leave and tells her about his past, but she convinces him to return to San Francisco and goes with him to substantiate his story to the police, who confront Irene with Walter. Irene quickly accuses Walter of killing Torrence, claiming that she and Walter argued after he refused to give her a divorce, a fact that Su Lin can verify. The police decide to hold Walter on suspicion of murder and release Irene. Marsha feels guilty about having persuaded Walter to return, but he assures her that he has gained much from her and wants to believe in the same values she does. Walter tries to explain his lengthy absence by claiming that he had amnesia, and a sympathetic Quincy listens to his story. Marsha, meanwhile, decides to try to find Su Lin in Chinatown but locates only her uncle, who is hiding her as she is afraid of being involved. However, during the trial, Marsha spots Su Lin, follows her and learns that because of Walter's kindness to her and her family, she does not want to be forced to testify to hearing the argument, as that could damage Walter. However, she does reveal that she knew that Irene was involved with Torrence. Later, Quincy and Marsha find proof that Irene was intending to meet Torrence after he killed Walter. In the courtroom, the defense attorney calls on Irene to testify and proves with clothing and a photograph found in Torrence's baggage that she was involved in the attempt on her husband's life. The prosecutor then asks for dismissal of the case against Walter and declares his intention to prosecute Irene. Marsha and Walter thank Quincy for his help and plan to remain together.

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

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