The Crooked Way (April 22, 1949)
Released on April 22, 1949: (running time 1 hour and 29 minutes) A war hero retuns home with no memory of who he is.
Produced by Benedict Bogeaus
Directed by Robert Florey
Written by Robert Monroe and Richard H. Landau
The Actors: John Payne (Eddie Rice, aka Eddie Riccardi), Sonny Tufts (Vince Alexander), Ellen Drew (Nina Martin), Rhys Williams (Police Lieutenant Joe Williams), Percy Helton (Petey), John Doucette (Police Sergeant Barrett), Charles Evans (Police Captain Anderson), Greta Granstedt (Hazel Downs), Raymond Largay (Doctor Arthur Stacey), Harry Bronson (Danny, Alexander henchman), Hal Baylor (Coke, Alexander henchman), Don Haggerty (hoodlum), Jack Overman (hoodlum), Crane Whitley (Dr. Kemble, off-screen narrator in first scene), John Harmon (Kelly), Garry Owen (man from Green Acres Mortuary), Chet Brandenburg (diner customer, pedestrian), Frank Cady (undercover policeman at bar), Lester Dorr (taxi driver), Ross Elliott (coroner), Charles Ferguson (roulette player), Tommy Ferguson (gambling house patron), Eddie Foster (man hiding Petey), Sumner Getchell (man with Nina at bar), Al Hill (taxi driver), Esther Howard (hotel proprietess), Mike Lally (roulette croupier), Vera Marshe (blonde job applicant), Thomas Martin (casino bartender), Barbara Pepper (shooting gallery proprietress), 'Snub' Pollard (newspaper seller), Frank Richards (bail bondsman), Sid Saylor (orange juice vendor), Charles Sullivan (hamburger stand proprietor)
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The War Hero, The Girl Who Loved Him, and The Gangster
John Payne was born to a wealthy Virginia family, but his father died when he was seventeen years old and John needed to take any job that he could find to help support his family. He was named after his ancestor who wrote the song “Home Sweet Home” with the lines ‘Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”
John Payne is most remembered for his roles in gangster noir features like this one, but his favorite movie was one that he financed two years before he made this movie. It is also the most watched movie featuring him even to this day. He had read a short story about Santa Clause in a magazine and thought it was so good that it should be made into a movie. World War Two had ended and studios were busy making big-budget musicals, and they weren’t interested in the little story about a department store Santa.
John felt so strongly about the story that he offered to put up his own money to finance the production, and soon “Miracle on 34th Street” was made. During production, it was John’s idea to have Santa speak to a little Dutch girl in her native language. It was also John Payne who suggested placing Santa’s cane in the new home by the fireplace.
In this adventure he is a soldier returning home after World War Two. Unfortunately, there is a piece of shrapnel in his head that has caused him to have total amnesia about his life before the war. He knows that he is from Los Angeles, but has no idea if he is married or not, if he is wealthy or poor, and has no idea if he will ever come across anyone in Los Angeles that knew him before the war.
Fortunately for the soldier with no memory, minutes after he arrives in Los Angeles, two men call him by name and start talking to him. Unfortunately they are cops, and he discovers that he is a gangster that got away. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Charles Ferguson, Drew Ellen
Dorothy Malone discovers John Ireland in her bed
Frank Cady, Vera Marshe
John Doucette, Rhys Williams
John Payne, Ellen Drew
Percy Helton, John Payne
John Payne, Raymond Largay
John Payne, Vera Marshe