He Walked by Night (November 24, 1948)

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Richard Basehart in He Walked by Night
 

Released on November 24, 1948: Noir Los Angeles Police drama that inspired the Dragnet television series.

Produced by Bryan Foy

Directed by Alfred Werker

The Actors: Richard Basehart (Roy Martin, aka Roy Morgan), Jack Webb (Lee Whitey), Scott Brady (Police Sergeant Marty Brennan), Roy Roberts (Police Captain Breen), Whit Bissell (Paul Reeves), James Cardwell (Police Sergeant Chuck Jones), Dorothy Adams (Housewife), Jane Adams (Nurse Scanion), Jack Bailey (the witness in pajamas and a robe), Alma Beltran (Miss Montalvo, the liquor store owner), Robert Bice (the Detective with Captain Breen), Chief Bradley (himself), Frank Cady (Pete Hammond, suspect), George Chan (the Chinese suspect), Garrett Craig (the patrolman), John Dehner (the assistant Bureau Chief), Ann Doran (the police dispatcher), Rex Downing (the young hoodlum), Michael Dugan (patrolman), Byron Foulger (Freddie, in the Bureau or Records), Kay Garrett (Doctor), George Goodman (Punchy the fighter suspect), Tim Graham (the uniformed Sergeant), Kit Guard (suspect), Reed Hadley (the narrator), Harry Harvey (liquor store proprietor), Thomas Browne Henry (Dunning the TV customer), Virginia Hunter (Miss Smith, liquor store proprietor), Felice Ingersoll (the records clerk), Anthony Jochim (the Spanish speaking detective), Stan Johnson (the artist), Louise Kane (Mrs. Robert Rawlins), Tommy Kelly (the young hoodlum, alias 'Redhead'), Dick Mason (the mailman), Billy Mauch (the young hoodlum, alias 'Handsome'), John McGuire (Officer Robert Rawlins), Charles Meredith (Hollywood police official) Carlotta Monti (Miss Montavio, liquor store customer), Bert Moorhouse (Detective), James Nolan (Harry, detective), John Parrish (liquor store proprietor), Ruth Robinson (Mrs. Johnson, liquor store proprietor), Paul Scardon (liquor store proprietor), Earl Spainard (liquor store proprietor), Florence Stephens (receptionist), Bernie Suss (business suspect), Kenneth Tobey (the detective questioning Pete), Wally Vernon (postman), Harlan Warde (police operator 27), Mary Ware (Reeves' secretary), Robert Williams (detective), Harry Wilson (prison inmate), Marty Wynn (Police Sergeant).

 

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Guest Review by Wayne Cooper

I believe in today's world this might be called a docu-drama and I would certainly call it Noir.

Although at this time not a major player in the movie, this was Jack Webb's first feature role. He portrays a lab investigator...an interesting foreshadowing of his Dragnet role...but not as dry, precise, or exacting. You can however, see in him, as a young actor, the development of his own personal style and his talent is very evident.

Interestingly, the use of a punch card 'computer' to sort out possible criminal types was one of the first times I'd seen this on film. It reminded me of my university time and was, for it's time, a HUGE step forward.

We also see Richard Basehart in an unfamiliar early role as a bad guy....and an excellent job he does.

Based loosely but largely accurately on a 1946 crime spree by Erwin Walker, this moody and atmospheric police procedural is incredibly well done. Lighting and photography are standouts featuring acute-angle and action shots more familiar to today's moviegoer then viewers in the 40's.

It was, apparently, THIS case and THIS particular movie that inspired Jack Webb to develop the long-lived Dragnet radio program and television series Dragnet.The semi-documentary style with it's terse direct approach was Webb's trademark later on and his insistence on realism was well known throughout the industry.

Police Captain Breen played by Roy Roberts is excellent as is Paul Reeves, innocently duped by Basehart who, himself, puts in an absolutely stellar performance. His little mutt provides several exciting and tense moments as we wonder if it's anxiety will be understood by Basehart.

The final scenes, filmed 'in' location ( no spoiler here ), were absolutely captivating..... edgy and as breath-taking as any modern drama, the director, sound-man and cameraman ALL taking good advantage of the ambient conditions to heighten the already tense mood.

All in all it's hard to believe this film is nearly 70 years old as the chromatography, acting, lighting and sets are well beyond simply adequate...they are, at times, simply incredible. Don't miss this one if you've never seen it....you WILL be on the edge of your chair.

Billy Mauch
Billy Mauch
Dorothy Adams
Dorothy Adams
Harry Harvey
Harry Harvey
Jack Webb and Roy Roberts
Jack Webb and Roy Roberts
Jack Webb
Jack Webb
James Cardwell
James Cardwell
James Cardwell, Scott Brady and Roy Roberts
James Cardwell, Scott Brady and Roy Roberts
James Cardwell, Scott Brady and Whit Bissell
James Cardwell, Scott Brady and Whit Bissell
Jane Adams, James Cardwell and Scott Brady
Jane Adams, James Cardwell and Scott Brady
John McGuire
John McGuire
Louise Kane
Louise Kane
Richard Basehart and Whit Bissell
Richard Basehart and Whit Bissell
Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart
Roy Roberts and Jack Webb
Roy Roberts and Jack Webb
Roy Roberts, Paul Fierro and Alma Beltran
Roy Roberts, Paul Fierro and Alma Beltran
Roy Roberts and Scott Brady
Roy Roberts and Scott Brady
Roy Roberts and Scott Brady
Roy Roberts and Scott Brady
Roy Roberts and Jack Webb
Roy Roberts and Jack Webb
Roy Roberts and Scott Brady
Roy Roberts and Scott Brady
Scott Brady
Scott Brady
Scott Brady, Byron Foulger and Felice Ingersoll
Scott Brady, Byron Foulger and Felice Ingersoll
Scott Brady and Dorothy Adams
Scott Brady and Dorothy Adams
Scott Brady and Roy Roberts
Scott Brady and Roy Roberts
Scott Brady
Scott Brady
Thomas Browne Henry and Whit Bissell
Thomas Browne Henry and Whit Bissell
Virginia Hunter and Ruth Robinson
Virginia Hunter and Ruth Robinson
Wally Vernon and Scott Brady
Wally Vernon and Scott Brady
Whit Bissell and Roy Roberts
Whit Bissell and Roy Roberts
Whit Bissell
Whit Bissell