© 1949 Benedict Bogeaus Production

The Crooked Way (1949)

The plot of this B noir crime picture is somewhat similar to D.O.A. Eddie Rice is a soldier released from an Army hospital in San Francisco, with a piece of shrapnel in his brain causing complete amnesia. He decides to go back to his hometown of L.A., hoping to run into someone who can help him piece his past together. It turns out everyone in L.A., where he is known as Eddie Ricardi, hates him, including the police and a band of gangsters. Eddie is played by John Payne, who looks appropriately confused and bewildered throughout the film, in a role much more substantial than the lawyer who proved the existence of Santa Claus, in Miracle on 34th Street. While the plot is mildly compelling, the cinematography by noir master John Alton really makes the film, especially in the climactic scene set in an army surplus warehouse.

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“I have been with you every day of my life. Tell me you know that.”
-Lorenz Lowenhielm (Jarl Kulle)
from Babette’s Feast