© 1948 Monogram Pictures

I Wouldn’t Be In Your Shoes (1948)

Director: William Nigh
Starring: Don Castle
Elyse Knox
Regis Toomey
Cinematographer: Mack Stengler
Year: 1948

I Wouldn’t Be In Your Shoes is a cheap film noir produced by poverty row studio Monogram Pictures that was long since written off as a lost film until it was recently rediscovered. It is based on a novel by Cornell Woolrich, who also penned the short story “It Had to be Murder,” which was the basis for Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Director William Nigh, who was nearing the end of a career that stretch way back to the silent era, was no Hitchcock, and this is a bit of a sluggish considering it is supposed to be a thriller. Still, the story has nice structure and a few nice moments. The film opens with an inmate on death row counting the minutes before he is escorted to the electric chair, and the story of how he got there is told in flashbacks. The title is quite literal, as it is the inmate’s shoes that get him into trouble. Tom is a struggling stage dancer who used to be double act with his wife, who is working at a dollar-a-dance joint to pay the bills. One especially hot night, an irritated Tom tosses his shoes at some noisy cats in the alley. They are his only pair, a set of custom-made tap shoes. When he goes down in the morning to retrieve them, they are nowhere to be found, but his wife finds them mysteriously left in the hallway in front of their door. Their go on in their lives, until Tom finds a wallet full of old 20 dollar bills. As is always the case in film noir, he wants to turn the money into the police, and she wants to keep it. Meanwhile, footprints of his distinctive shoes are found at the scene of a murder and robbery where a stash of old 20s was stolen. With Tom in jail, his wife teams up with a seemingly sympathetic cop who is also one of her customers at the dance parlor.

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