Walk a Crooked Mile (1948)

FBI teams up with Scotland Yard to avenge murder of G-Man!

A security leak is found at a Southern California atomic plant. The authorities stand in fear that the information leaked would go to a hostile nation. To investigate the case more efficiently, Dan O'Hara, an FBI agent, and Philip Grayson, a Scotland Yard sleuth, join forces. Will they manage to stop the spy ring from achieving their aim?

Laundry and Liquidation.
Walk a Crooked Mile is directed by Gordon Douglas and adapted to screenplay by George Bruce from a Bertram Millhauser story. It stars Louis Hayward, Dennis O'Keefe, Louise Albritton, Carl Esmond, Onslow Stevens and Raymond Burr. Music is by Paul Sawtell and cinematography by George Robinson.
A Scotland Yard detective and a FBI agent investigate what looks to be a spy ring infiltrating a top secret Nuclear Physics centre.
To fully get the drift you really have to understand the era when films like this were produced, a time of The HUAC and Cold War paranoia, when Hollywood itself was under scrutiny to weed out supposed communist infiltrators.
Good pro Gordon Douglas directs in a semi-documentary style - complete with Reed Hadley stentorian narration - in what turns out to be a decent spy like thriller. J. Edgar Hoover stuck his oar in to ensure no sanction of how the FBI looked was granted, which actually gives the pic some kudos, as does the superb Frisco location filming. It's nicely photographed in a noir style by Robinson, which lends one to lament he didn't operate more often in that style of film making. While perfs are absolutely fine, with Burr not for the first time in 1948 proving to be a great nasty presence.
Narratively it's hit and miss, the fear of the communist is solidly played, but actually the fear of the scientists is probably more sneakily bubbling away under the surface. There's a brilliant sequence of events that ties into Nazidom, with a landlady holding court for maximum impact, and for dramatic purpose the torture sequence and inevitable shoot out hit the right requisite notes.
Not a must see in the realm of Cold War/Spy Ring pictures, but entertaining and well mounted enough to keep it well above average. 6/10

Columbia Pictures by Gordon Douglas, George Bruce, Bertram Millhauser.
Stars: Louis Hayward, Dennis O'Keefe, Louise Allbritton, Carl Esmond.

Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Keywords: spy scotland yard fbi cold war film noir

09/02/1948

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