Blind Alley

Interesting but somewhat ramshackle chunk of Freudiana adapted from a stage play, in which an escaped convict (Morris) and his associates hold a remote household hostage while waiting for their getaway transport. The house happens to belong to a psychiatrist (Bellamy), and the process by which he gradually asserts his dominance, realising that the convict is a compulsive killer who is afraid he's going mad, is persuasively done; the miracle analysis he achieves within hours (programming the killer so that he can no longer pull the trigger), is ludicrous, to say the least. The best sequence details the killer's recurring nightmare of cowering from a relentless shower of blood under a perforated umbrella, simply but very effectively staged in negative; and throughout, Lucien Ballard's deep focus compositions enhance the otherwise routine tensions. Remade in 1948 as The Dark Past.

Release details

Duration: 71 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Charles Vidor
Screenwriter: Michael Blankfort, Albert Duffy
Cast: Chester Morris
Ralph Bellamy
Ann Dvorak
Joan Perry
Melville Cooper
Rose Stradner
Marc Lawrence
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