6.4/10
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14 user 5 critic

Blind Alley (1939)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 11 May 1939 (USA)
Gangster Hal Wilson takes psychiatrist Dr. Shelby hostage. While captive, the doctor analyzes Wilson as though he were a patient.

Director:

Charles Vidor

Writers:

Philip MacDonald (screen play), Michael Blankfort (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Chester Morris ... Hal Wilson
Ralph Bellamy ... Dr. Shelby
Ann Dvorak ... Mary
Joan Perry ... Linda Curtis
Melville Cooper ... George Curtis
Rose Stradner ... Doris Shelby
John Eldredge ... Dick Holbrook (as John Eldridge)
Ann Doran ... Agnes
Marc Lawrence ... Buck
Stanley Brown ... Fred Landis
Scotty Beckett ... Davy
Milburn Stone ... Nick
Marie Blake ... Harriet
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Storyline

Following a prison break, Hal Wilson, a ruthless killer takes refuge in the home of a psychiatrist, Dr. Shelby. While Wilson is attempting to make a safe getaway, Dr. Shelby is busily trying to analyze his captor and find out just what, in his dark past, made him the man he now has become. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

STAND IN HIS WAY..AND DIE! (original 3-sheet poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Early in the film, the campus building depicted behind Dr. Shelby is Royce Hall, a distinctive landmark on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. See more »

Goofs

The gangster's fingers are supposedly paralyzed, but when he pushes the "Insanity and the Criminal Mind" book back onto the shelf, you can clearly see him flick it into place with one of his "paralyzed" fingers. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Girls Who Like Girls (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 in E flat major
(1830-31) (uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Played on the piano by Rose Stradner
See more »

User Reviews

Very Good
16 June 2008 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Blind Alley (1939)

*** (out of 4)

Columbia thriller based on a 1935 Broadway play has Chester Morris playing a gangster who escapes from prison and eventually takes a psychiatrist (Ralph Bellamy) and his family and friends hostage. Soon the psychiatrist starts to work on the gangster to try and break him down so that everyone can make it out of the situation okay. This is an extremely well made and well acted "B" film that manages to be very entertaining from start to finish. What really sets this film apart from others like it are the performances by the two leads. Morris, due to his Boston Blackie films, has become one of my favorite actors and I think this is the best work I've seen from him. The character he plays is pretty much cold-hearted from start to finish and is just as dark as the character he played in Three Godfathers. There's no charm in this character and Morris really comes off as a very threatening figure. He also manages to be very convincing during the mental breakdown scenes when the doctor starts to work him over. Bellamy, another one of my favorite "B" actors, is also very good. His calm, cool and collective nature and that wonderful voice really pays off well here against Morris. Ann Dvorak from Scarface turns in fine support as the gangster's girlfriend. There are a couple very interesting aspects worth noting. One is an underlined child molestation that Morris suffered as a child. This isn't thrown out into the open but it isn't hinted at, which I'm surprised got by the Hayes Office. Another interesting segment is the dream sequence where we see a dream that is constantly haunting Morris. This was shot with a reverse negative and the look is very good and eerie. This film was later remade as The Dark Past.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 May 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Afsporet See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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