He Walked by Night (1948)

March 26th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Alfred L Werker | Cast: Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts, Whit Bissell | US Film Noir 79′

A obvious precursor to Dragnet – complete with an appearance by future star Jack Webb – and a fine example of the routine excellence of the Hollywood thriller of the forties. He Walked by Noir unfolds in a semi-documentary style and follows police on the hunt for a resourceful criminal who shot and killed a cop.

Alfred Werker has long been difficult to fathom since amid the detritus of a journeyman career there’s been a handful of remarkably accomplished examples of filmmaking.

Applying the declamatory style then fashionable in urban thrillers, a nerdy young Richard Basehart plays a killer with absolutely no redeeming features cornered in the Los Angeles storm drains as Harry Lime was the sewers of Vienna in The Third Man.

While it’s widely known that Anthony Mann contributed several sequences; the overall success of the film probably owes as much to the unifying contribution of the magnificent black & white photography of John Alton. @RichardChatten

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