Walk Softly, Stranger (1950)

81 mins | Drama | 4 November 1950

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Weep No More . According to a Mar 1947 Var news item, Alfred Hitchcock was first considered to direct the film, and Cary Grant to star. Made in early 1948, Walk Softly, Stranger was the last RKO picture to boast a Dore Schary credit. (Schary left the studio in the spring of 1948 after a disagreement with RKO owner Howard Hughes.) According to modern sources, Hughes shelved the film soon after its completion, but decided in Feb 1949 to release it, hoping to capitalize on the success of Carol Reed's film The Third Man (see above entry), which also starred Joseph Cotten and Valli. The NYT review commented that Walk Softly, Stranger was "apparently withheld from release in the expectation of enhancement of its 'star value' from the Carol Reed film." In Mar 1949, Var announced that Hughes and Selznick had decided to shoot a new ending for the picture, which was to be written by Oliver H. P. Garrett. The extent of Garrett's contribution to the final film is not known. In addition to Cotten and Valli, RKO borrowed director Robert Stevenson from David O. Selznick's company. This was the last film on which Selznick and RKO collaborated. According to a Feb 1949 HR news item, Selznick was promised a percentage of the profits from this film and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (see above entry) in exchange for Schary's release from his Selznick contract. According to modern sources, the film lost $775,000 and was RKO's biggest flop ... More Less

The working title of this film was Weep No More . According to a Mar 1947 Var news item, Alfred Hitchcock was first considered to direct the film, and Cary Grant to star. Made in early 1948, Walk Softly, Stranger was the last RKO picture to boast a Dore Schary credit. (Schary left the studio in the spring of 1948 after a disagreement with RKO owner Howard Hughes.) According to modern sources, Hughes shelved the film soon after its completion, but decided in Feb 1949 to release it, hoping to capitalize on the success of Carol Reed's film The Third Man (see above entry), which also starred Joseph Cotten and Valli. The NYT review commented that Walk Softly, Stranger was "apparently withheld from release in the expectation of enhancement of its 'star value' from the Carol Reed film." In Mar 1949, Var announced that Hughes and Selznick had decided to shoot a new ending for the picture, which was to be written by Oliver H. P. Garrett. The extent of Garrett's contribution to the final film is not known. In addition to Cotten and Valli, RKO borrowed director Robert Stevenson from David O. Selznick's company. This was the last film on which Selznick and RKO collaborated. According to a Feb 1949 HR news item, Selznick was promised a percentage of the profits from this film and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (see above entry) in exchange for Schary's release from his Selznick contract. According to modern sources, the film lost $775,000 and was RKO's biggest flop of the year. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Sep 1950.
---
Daily Variety
23 Aug 50
p. 3, 11
Film Daily
29 Aug 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 48
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Feb 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 50
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
2 Sep 50
p. 458.
New York Times
16 Oct 50
p. 30.
Variety
25 Mar 1947.
---
Variety
1 Mar 49
p. 1, 8
Variety
23 Aug 50
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Dore Schary Presentation
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on a story by
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Weep No More
Release Date:
4 November 1950
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 14 October 1950
Production Date:
19 April--8 June 1948
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1949
Copyright Number:
LP414
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81
Length(in feet):
7,288
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13126
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When a man calling himself Chris Hale arrives at the doorstep of her Ashton, Ohio house, asking to see his childhood home, widow Mrs. Brentman gladly invites him in. The unemployed Chris then accepts Mrs. Brentman's offer of a room and takes a job in the shipping department of the Corelli shoe factory. One night, Chris wanders into the Ashton country club and meets Elaine Corelli, his boss's beautiful but paralyzed daughter. Speaking of the days when he used to deliver newspapers to her door and adored her from afar, Chris amuses and fascinates the once-vibrant Elaine. The next day, Chris is called in to see Elaine's father A. J., who tells him that Elaine was so taken with him that she asked that he be given a better job in sales. Chris declines the offer, but assures Corelli, who is devoted to his daughter, that he will explain his decision to Elaine. As promised, Chris, a confessed gambler and drifter, shows up at the Corelli home to talk with Elaine. Although Chris's explanations are vague, his self-deprecating humor relaxes Elaine, who is finally able to joke about the skiing accident that left her paralyzed. The next morning, Chris flies to another city for a rendezvous with petty criminal Whitey Lake, who calls him "Steve." Chris and Whitey then rob gambling house owner Bowen of $200,000 in cash, knowing that the crime will never be reported. After advising Whitey to "disappear," Chris returns to Ashton and accepts an invitation for a double date from co-worker Ray Healy. When he then runs into Elaine, however, Chris breaks the date and takes the reluctant heiress to a ... +


When a man calling himself Chris Hale arrives at the doorstep of her Ashton, Ohio house, asking to see his childhood home, widow Mrs. Brentman gladly invites him in. The unemployed Chris then accepts Mrs. Brentman's offer of a room and takes a job in the shipping department of the Corelli shoe factory. One night, Chris wanders into the Ashton country club and meets Elaine Corelli, his boss's beautiful but paralyzed daughter. Speaking of the days when he used to deliver newspapers to her door and adored her from afar, Chris amuses and fascinates the once-vibrant Elaine. The next day, Chris is called in to see Elaine's father A. J., who tells him that Elaine was so taken with him that she asked that he be given a better job in sales. Chris declines the offer, but assures Corelli, who is devoted to his daughter, that he will explain his decision to Elaine. As promised, Chris, a confessed gambler and drifter, shows up at the Corelli home to talk with Elaine. Although Chris's explanations are vague, his self-deprecating humor relaxes Elaine, who is finally able to joke about the skiing accident that left her paralyzed. The next morning, Chris flies to another city for a rendezvous with petty criminal Whitey Lake, who calls him "Steve." Chris and Whitey then rob gambling house owner Bowen of $200,000 in cash, knowing that the crime will never be reported. After advising Whitey to "disappear," Chris returns to Ashton and accepts an invitation for a double date from co-worker Ray Healy. When he then runs into Elaine, however, Chris breaks the date and takes the reluctant heiress to a working class nightclub. Chris's jilted date, Gwen, is also at the club and denounces him in front of Elaine. Although Chris wins a joking bet with Elaine that he can get Gwen to dance with him, Elaine grows despondent watching her would-be rival dance. Sure that Chris will come to resent her paralysis, Elaine leaves suddenly for Florida. When she returns at Christmas, however, Chris resumes his pursuit, and by New Year's Eve, the two are deeply in love. Chris's newfound happiness is shortlived, however, as Whitey shows up, broke and scared. Chris insists that Whitey, who is being chased by Bowen, stay locked up in Mrs. Brentman's house until he can figure out an escape plan. Whitey's nerves are soon frayed, and he begins tearing apart Chris's room in search of Bowen's money. Then, after he learns that Chris is sending Mrs. Brentman to see her son's grave in Arlington Cemetery, Whitey, who takes afternoon walks in defiance of Chris's orders, becomes convinced that his friend intends to kill him during her absence. Chris finally calms and reassures the now-hysterical Whitey, and sees Mrs. Brentman off at the airport. As he is driving home, he realizes that he is being followed by two men, but manages to reach Elaine's without detection. Chris confesses all to an understanding Elaine, who advises him to return the money. Elaine also reveals that, as she moved to Ashton as a teenager, she knew all along that he was lying about his past. By the time Chris returns to Mrs. Brentman's, Whitey has been killed and the money, reclaimed. The killers then take Chris to see the vengeful Bowen, who, while riding in a car with his prisoner, suggests they both rob Elaine of her fortune. Disgusted, Chris tries to take Bowen's driver by surprise, but is shot by Bowen in the ensuing struggle. The car crashes, and Chris winds up in a police hospital. As the recuperated Chris is about to be transferred to prison, Elaine visits and vows to wait until his release, when he will finally need her the way she has always needed him. +

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.