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He Walked by Night

USA 1948. Dirs: Alfred Werker, Anthony Mann. 79 min. 35mm

NEW, RESTORED 35mm PRINT! Anthony Mann was the uncredited co-director of this influential noir thriller, a brisk B-movie made in the semi-documentary, police-procedural style, but also spotlighting the eye-popping Expressionist cinematography of noted noir cameraman John Alton (The Big Combo, T-Men). Produced by Poverty Row studio Eagle-Lion Films, and loosely based on “Machine Gun” Walker’s L.A. crime spree of the mid-1940s, the movie has Richard Basehart as a cop-killer cunningly adept at avoiding capture. A parallel narrative chronicles the methodical efforts of the police team tasked with hunting him down. Jack Webb, in his first credited screen role, plays a forensic technician; the film was an inspiration for Webb’s long-running Dragnet franchise. The striking subterranean finale was shot in L.A.’s storm sewers. Preservation funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Film Foundation.

REVIEWS

"The fact that Anthony Mann had an uncredited hand in the direction may have something to do with the successful creation of a tense atmosphere, although most notable is the superb noir photography by John Alton."

Time Out | full review