Guilty Bystander (1950)

91 mins | Film noir | January 1950

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HISTORY

A 4 Aug 1949 HR news item reported that the film was originally to have starred Juanita Hill. According to reviews the picture was shot on location in and around New York ... More Less

A 4 Aug 1949 HR news item reported that the film was originally to have starred Juanita Hill. According to reviews the picture was shot on location in and around New York City. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Feb 1950.
---
Daily Variety
8 Feb 50
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Feb 50
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 49
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 49
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 50
p. 3, 11
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Feb 50
p. 197.
New York Times
21 Apr 50
p. 18.
Variety
15 Feb 50
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Prop master
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Sd dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Photog eff
Photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Elec supv
Const supv
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Guilty Bystander by Wade Miller (New York, 1947).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1950
Production Date:
August 1949 at Fox Movietone Studios (New York City)
Copyright Claimant:
Laurel Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 January 1950
Copyright Number:
LP2954
Physical Properties:
Sound
Reeves Magicorder
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
91
Length(in feet):
8,203
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14298
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, Max Thursday, an alcoholic, down-and-out former police officer, works as a house detective in Smitty's run-down residence hotel. One day, Georgia, Max's ex-wife, arrives at the hotel and tells him that their son Jeff has been kidnapped. She also tells him that Jeff was last seen with her brother, Fred Mace, who has also disappeared. When Max asks her why she has not yet notified the police, she tells him that she has been threatened with harm by Dr. Elder, her brother's disreputable associate, if she reports the crime. Max quickly sobers up and pays a visit to Elder, who greets him at gunpoint. After drugging Max, Elder knocks him unconscious and throws him into the street. Max regains consciousness in a jail cell, where he learns that Elder has been murdered and that he is being held as a suspect in the crime. Captain Tonetti, head of the homicide bureau and an old friend of Max's, releases Max when Georgia provides an alibi for her ex-husband. Max's investigation into Elder soon reveals that the doctor was involved in a diamond smuggling operation headed by Otto Varkas. Max finds Varkas at his warehouse and threatens to tell the police that Elder was one of Varkas' men unless Varkas tells him where he can find Fred. Varkas refuses to help Max, but on his way out, Max meets Angel, a Varkas moll, who inadvertently reveals that Fred is being held captive by Varkas' men. Angel also tells Max that Elder was the pick-up man for a mysterious figure named "Saint Paul." While on his way to Varkas' hiding place, Max is ... +


In New York City, Max Thursday, an alcoholic, down-and-out former police officer, works as a house detective in Smitty's run-down residence hotel. One day, Georgia, Max's ex-wife, arrives at the hotel and tells him that their son Jeff has been kidnapped. She also tells him that Jeff was last seen with her brother, Fred Mace, who has also disappeared. When Max asks her why she has not yet notified the police, she tells him that she has been threatened with harm by Dr. Elder, her brother's disreputable associate, if she reports the crime. Max quickly sobers up and pays a visit to Elder, who greets him at gunpoint. After drugging Max, Elder knocks him unconscious and throws him into the street. Max regains consciousness in a jail cell, where he learns that Elder has been murdered and that he is being held as a suspect in the crime. Captain Tonetti, head of the homicide bureau and an old friend of Max's, releases Max when Georgia provides an alibi for her ex-husband. Max's investigation into Elder soon reveals that the doctor was involved in a diamond smuggling operation headed by Otto Varkas. Max finds Varkas at his warehouse and threatens to tell the police that Elder was one of Varkas' men unless Varkas tells him where he can find Fred. Varkas refuses to help Max, but on his way out, Max meets Angel, a Varkas moll, who inadvertently reveals that Fred is being held captive by Varkas' men. Angel also tells Max that Elder was the pick-up man for a mysterious figure named "Saint Paul." While on his way to Varkas' hiding place, Max is shot and seriously wounded by two of Varkas' men. Despite his crippling injury, Max manages to return to Varkas' warehouse, where he finds Varkas dead. A pack of cigarettes belonging to one of Varkas' men provides the clue that leads Max back to Smitty's hotel, where he discovers that "Saint Paul" is none other than Smitty, who used the kidnapping of Jeff to force Fred to give her the jewels he got from Varkas. Smitty tries to involve Max in her scheme, but when she realizes that he has gone straight, she tells Max where to find Fred. Fred reveals the whereabouts of Jeff, and the boy is returned safely to his mother. +

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.