Director Robert Florey (The Vicious Years (1950), Johnny One-Eye (1950), segued into TV early did some Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Twilight Zones and Outer Limits), Director of Photography was Master Cinematographer John Alton (about fourteen Classic Noir to his scorecard). Music was by Louis Forbes.
The film stars John Payne (Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Larceny (1948), Kansas City Confidential (1952), 99 River Street (1953), Slightly Scarlet (1956), Hidden Fear (1957)), Sonny Tufts (No Escape (1953), Cat-Women of the Moon (1953), The Seven Year Itch (1955)), Ellen Drew (Johnny O'Clock (1947)), Rhys Williams (Nightmare (1956)), Percy Helton (nine Classic Noir), and John Doucette (eight Classic Film Noir), Ester Howard (Murder, My Sweet (1944), Detour (1945), Born to Kill (1947), No Man of Her Own (1950), Caged (1950)), Frank Cady, Charles Evans, who also had some Noir on their curriculum vitae. Cady I just watched the other day in The Asphalt Jungle.
|That piece of shrapnel is causing organic amnesia|
|Eddie Rice (Payne)|
Eddie buys it. We buy it. Yes, a chance. A once upon a time like big dream, about how, just out of plain crazy ass dumb luck, he'll walk around in The City of Angels and will run into somebody he knows. Then, maybe that person will lead him to another, and then that person to yet another and he'll happily put together his story piece by piece. He figures it's gonna be hard, it's gonna take time. He diligently studies a pamphlet about Los Angeles riding the train on the way down.
|Sgt. Barrett (John Doucette) and Lt. Joe Williams (Rhys Williams)|
From the cops file he reads that he worked with a sort of Southern California hillbilly hood/mob boss Vince Alexander (Sonny Tufts), whom he framed before he joined the Army and disappeared into WWII.
He also finds out he was married to B-Girl (Nina) Ellen Drew, who also has mob connections. She is working in an illegal gambling parlor, she oversees the girls, always on the lookout for those with new "talents." Thanks to the MPPC we can allow our wildest imagination figure out what that meant, lol.
Caught between the cops and the mob, Payne eventually wakes up in a car with a gun in his hand, a dead cop in the seat next to him, and a siren in the distance is getting louder. Just before the tipped off police arrive, Eddie scrambles out into the night.
Payne tracking his past life through L.A.
|Nina Martin (Ellen Drew)|
This Film is a gem. Alton's cinematography is extremely dark and claustrophobic and fits the subject matter well, a feast for Noir eyes with a nice juxtaposition of studio set & seedy location shots that make a fine example of the noir aesthetic. The large and varied cast actually enhances the amnesia angle to the story since minor character actors flicker for a few moments of screen time out of the shadows and then are gone, and just like Eddie, you don't know whether they are a part of Eddie's past life or not.
Noirsville Alton's stylistic cinematography
|Vince Alexander (Sonny Tufts)|
|Petey (Percy Helton)|
|Hotel owner (Esther Howard)|
|Petey and his cat|
|New talent (Vera Marshe)|
|get that cat out of here|
|A Western Swing Bar|
|Like a lit stick of dynamite mad dog (Sonny Tufts)|
This film may also have the distinction of being one of the only Film Noir to feature some Western Swing its diegetic soundtrack.
The screencaps are from the Geneon DVD, it's cheap, adequate but featureless, still a personal 9/10 for me.