Walk a Crooked Mile

Last updated
Walk a Crooked Mile
Walk a Crooked Mile Lobby Card.jpg
Theatrical release lobby card
Directed by Gordon Douglas
Screenplay byGeorge Bruce
Story by Bertram Millhauser
Produced by
Narrated by Reed Hadley
Edited by James E. Newcom
Music by Paul Sawtell
Edward Small Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • September 2, 1948 (1948-09-02)(United States)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States

Walk a Crooked Mile is a 1948 America anti-communist, Cold War film noir crime film, directed by Gordon Douglas, starring Dennis O'Keefe and Louis Hayward.



Soon after solid leads come to light about a Communist spy ring infiltrating the Lakeview Laboratory of Nuclear Physics, a southern California atomic research center, Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Dan O'Hara (Dennis O'Keefe) teams up with Scotland Yard detective Philip Grayson (Louis Hayward) to hunt down the perpetrators responsible for the leak, and at least one of the scientists at the nuclear lab is suspected to be involved in the clandestine, espionage operation.



The film was one of the first Cold War movies, and was made specifically to exploit the new anti-communist sentiment in the country after World War II. Producer Edward Smalls hoped to repeat the success he recently had with the films noir T-Men and Raw Deal. It was director Gordon Douglas' first major production; he had been making B movies for MGM.

The original title was Face of Treason, which was changed to FBI vs Scotland Yard. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover requested it be renamed again, [1] to FBI Meets Scotland Yard, but Small eschewed any collaboration with the agency, as he had discovered how controlling Hoover was when the FBI was involved in a cinematic project. Hoover was involved with a big hit, 1945's The House on 92nd Street , a movie about the FBI's pursuit and conquest of domestic Nazis that showcased the agency's methods and skills. By 1948, the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings about communist influence on the country were underway, and the FBI wanted a movie about this hot new topic, but Small refused to let Hoover co-produce the movie. Small also refused to grant the FBI power to approve the screenplay, so Hoover insisted all traces of the agency be removed from the film. Small refused once again; he held that fictional treatment of a public agency was legitimate. The only concession Small made was regarding the title, consequently The New York Times published a letter from Hoover disavowing any connection to the film and stating that he had not sanctioned it. [2]

Exteriors are mostly from San Francisco but the film starts with exteriors from Brand Boulevard, Glendale, California. [3] [4]


When the film was released, The New York Times film critic, Bosley Crowther, while giving the film mixed review, wrote well of the screenplay, "No use to speak of the action or the acting. It's strictly routine. But the plot is deliberately sensational." [5]

The staff at Variety gave the film a favorable review, writing, "Action swings to San Francisco and back to the southland, punching hard all the time under the knowledgeable direction of Gordon Douglas. On-the-site filming of locales adds authenticity. George Bruce has loaded his script with nifty twists that add air of reality to the meller doings in the Bertram Millhauser story. Dialog is good and situations believably developed, even the highly contrived melodramatic finale. Documentary flavor is forwarded by Reed Hadley's credible narration chore." [6]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dana Andrews</span> American actor (1909–1992)

Carver Dana Andrews was an American film actor who became a major star in what is now known as film noir. A leading man during the 1940s, he continued acting in less prestigious roles and character parts into the 1980s. He is best known for his portrayal of obsessed police detective Mark McPherson in the noir Laura (1944) and his critically acclaimed performance as World War II veteran Fred Derry in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dennis O'Keefe</span> American actor (1899–1957)

Dennis O'Keefe was an American actor and screenwriter.

<i>Shock</i> (1946 film) 1946 film by Alfred L. Werker

Shock is a 1946 American film noir directed by Alfred L. Werker and starring Vincent Price, Lynn Bari and Frank Latimore.

<i>That Darn Cat!</i> 1965 thriller comedy film by Robert Stevenson

That Darn Cat! is a 1965 American thriller comedy film directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Hayley Mills and Dean Jones in a story about bank robbers, a kidnapping and a mischievous cat; produced by Walt Disney Productions. The film was based on the 1963 novel Undercover Cat by Gordon and Mildred Gordon. The title song was written by the Sherman Brothers and sung by Bobby Darin. The 1997 remake includes a cameo appearance by Dean Jones.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Louis Hayward</span> British actor born in South Africa

Louis Charles Hayward was a Johannesburg-born, British-American actor.

<i>I Was a Communist for the FBI</i> 1951 film by Gordon Douglas

I Was a Communist for the FBI is a 1951 American film noir crime film directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Frank Lovejoy. The film was produced by Bryan Foy who was head of Warners B picture unit until 1942.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gordon Douglas (director)</span> American film director (1907–1993)

Gordon Douglas Brickner was an American film director and actor, who directed many different genres of films over the course of a five-decade career in motion pictures.

<i>Raw Deal</i> (1948 film) 1948 film by Anthony Mann

Raw Deal is a 1948 American film noir crime film directed by Anthony Mann and starring Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor and Marsha Hunt. It was shot by cinematographer John Alton with sets designed by the art director Edward L. Ilou. An independent production by Edward Small, it was distributed by Eagle-Lion Films.

<i>T-Men</i> 1947 film by Anthony Mann

T-Men is a 1947 semidocumentary and police procedural style film noir about United States Treasury agents. The film was directed by Anthony Mann and shot by noted noir cameraman John Alton. The production features Dennis O'Keefe, Mary Meade, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford, June Lockhart and Charles McGraw. A year later, director Mann used the film's male lead, Dennis O'Keefe, in Raw Deal.

Edward Small was a film producer from the late 1920s through 1970, who was enormously prolific over a 50-year career. He is best known for the movies The Count of Monte Cristo (1934), The Man in the Iron Mask (1939), The Corsican Brothers (1941), Brewster's Millions (1945), Raw Deal (1948), Black Magic (1949), Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and Solomon and Sheba (1959).

<i>Woman on the Run</i> 1950 film by Norman Foster

Woman on the Run is a 1950 American crime film noir directed by Norman Foster and starring Ann Sheridan and Dennis O'Keefe. The film was based on the April 1948 short story "Man on the Run" by Sylvia Tate and filmed on location in San Francisco.

<i>Scandal Sheet</i> (1952 film) 1952 film by Phil Karlson

Scandal Sheet is a 1952 American film noir directed by Phil Karlson. The film is based on the novel The Dark Page by Samuel Fuller, who himself was a newspaper reporter before his career in film. The drama features Broderick Crawford, Donna Reed and John Derek.

<i>The Woman on Pier 13</i> 1949 film by Robert Stevenson

The Woman on Pier 13 is a 1949 American film noir drama directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Laraine Day, Robert Ryan, and John Agar. It previewed in Los Angeles and San Francisco in 1949 under the title I Married a Communist but, owing to poor polling among preview audiences, this was dropped prior to its 1950 release.

<i>I Walk Alone</i> 1947 film

I Walk Alone is a 1947 film noir directed by Byron Haskin and starring Burt Lancaster and Lizabeth Scott, with a supporting cast featuring Wendell Corey and Kirk Douglas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Reed Hadley</span> American actor (1910–1958)

Reed Hadley was an American film, television and radio actor.

<i>The Story of Dr. Wassell</i> 1944 film by Cecil B. DeMille

The Story of Dr. Wassell is a 1944 American World War II film set in the Dutch East Indies, directed by Cecil B. DeMille, and starring Gary Cooper, Laraine Day, Signe Hasso and Dennis O'Keefe. The film was based on a book of the same name by novelist and screenwriter James Hilton.

<i>Lured</i> 1947 film by Douglas Sirk

Lured is a 1947 film noir directed by Douglas Sirk and starring George Sanders, Lucille Ball, Charles Coburn, and Boris Karloff. The film is a remake of 1939 French film Pièges directed by Robert Siodmak, which was titled Personal Column in the United States; Personal Column was also the title of this film when it was originally released. It did not do good business under that name, so United Artists pulled it from circulation, and subsequently re-released it with the current title.

<i>Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye</i> (film) 1950 film by Gordon Douglas

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a 1950 film noir starring James Cagney, directed by Gordon Douglas, produced by William Cagney and based on the novel by Horace McCoy. The film was banned in Ohio as "a sordid, sadistic presentation of brutality and an extreme presentation of crime with explicit steps in commission."

<i>The Diamond</i> (film) 1954 British film

The Diamond is a 1954 British film noir crime film starring Dennis O'Keefe, Margaret Sheridan and Philip Friend. It is based on the 1952 novel Rich Is the Treasure by Maurice Procter. It was released by United Artists in both Britain and America where it was known as The Diamond Wizard. It has the distinction of being Britain's first 3D film, though according to the British Film Institute, it was shown in 3D only once, on 13 September 2006 in Hollywood. Despite the 2006 showing the film was listed on the BFI 75 Most Wanted list of lost films. The 2D film, however, is not lost and can be viewed on Amazon Prime while the restored 3D version was released on Blu-Ray November 2022.


  1. Scheuer, Philip K. (Aug 23, 1948). "Dennis O'Keefe Costar of Small's 'Dark Page;' Carmen, Wally Reunited". Los Angeles Times. p. 11.
  2. Muller, Eddie. "Noir Alley: Walk a Crooked Mile (1948) Inro". You Tube. Tuner Classic Movies. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  3. CitySleuth (August 18, 2019). "Walk A Crooked Mile - 1 - Red Scare". Reel SF. Retrieved 11 April 2022. San Francisco movie locations from classic films
  4. CitySleuth (March 29, 2020). "Walk A Crooked Mile - 9 - Pier 36". Reel SF. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  5. Crowther, Bosly. The New York Times, film review, October 13, 1948. Last accessed: February 27, 2011.
  6. Variety, film review. September 2, 1949. Last accessed: February 27, 2011.