Retrospektive 2018

Blind Alley

Charles Vidor
USA 1939

Chiselled tough guy Chester Morris stars in BLIND ALLEY as a psychotic killer who hides out in a lakeside weekend home only to be locked in an extended fire-side showdown with its owner, Ralph Bellamy’s tweedy psychoanalyst who determines to cure the criminal using the verbal tools of his prolix trade. A seminal proto-noir, BLIND ALLEY marks an important transition between the classic gangster portrait films of the 1930s and the psychoanalytically informed explorations of criminality that would flourish through the end of the studio-era. Indeed, the film sets into place dominant noir archetypes of psychotic criminality, analyst investigators and repressed dream/flashbacks as riddles charged with crucial meaning. Despite the slightly starchy theatricality of its performances, BLIND ALLEY is energized by the stylized direction of “the other Vidor”, Hungarian émigré Charles Vidor, whose prolific years in B-pictures have long been overshadowed by his other Freudian noir classic GILDA. Lucien Ballard’s apprenticeship as cinematographer for Josef von Sternberg clearly shaped the remarkable dream sequences that further underscore the film’s place as an obscure anticipation of Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND. (Haden Guest)


  • Chester Morris
  • John Eldredge
  • Melville Cooper
  • Ralph Bellamy
  • Ann Dvorak
  • Joan Perry
  • Rose Stradner
  • Philip MacDonald
  • Michael Blankfort
  • Albert Duffy
  • Lewis Meltzer nach einem Stück von James Warwick
  • Lucien Ballard
  • George Parrish
Columbia Pictures
35 mm
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