Walk a Crooked Mile (1948): Gordon Douglas’ Anti-Communist Film Noir

Gordon Douglas directed Walk a Crooked Mile, an efficiently executed anti-communist film noir, starring Louis Hayward and Dennis O’Keefe.

Grade: B- (**1/2 out of *****)

Walk a Crooked Mile
Walk a Crooked Mile Lobby Card.jpg

Theatrical release lobby card

A communist spy ring has infiltrated Lakeview Laboratory of Nuclear Physics, a Southern California atomic research center.

Scotland Yard detective Philip Grayson and FBI agent Dan O’Hara are on the case.

Directed in a semi-documentary style, the movie was shot in black-and-white, and narrated in solemn, matter-of-fact mode by Reed Hadley.

The film was originally titled FBI vs Scotland Yard but it was was changed at the request of J. Edgar Hoover, who was concerned that it might stir an “unnecessary” controversy.

Variety Review:

The 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.

Louis Hayward as Philip ‘Scotty’ Grayson
Dennis O’Keefe as Daniel F. O’Hara
Louise Allbritton as Dr. Toni Neva
Carl Esmond as Dr. Ritter von Stolb
Onslow Stevens as Igor Braun
Raymond Burr as Krebs
Art Baker as Dr. Frederick Townsend
Lowell Gilmore as Dr. William Forrest
Philip Van Zandt as Anton Radchek
Charles Evans as Dr. Homer Allen
Frank Ferguson as Carl Bemish

Reed Hadley as Narrator


Directed by Gordon Douglas
Produced by Edward Small, Grant Whytock

Screenplay by George Bruce, Story by Bertram Millhauser
Music by Paul Sawtell
Cinematography: Edward Colman, George Robinson

Edited by James E. Newcom

Production company: Edward Small Productions

Distributed by Columbia Pictures

Release date: September 2, 1948

Running time: 91 minutes


TCM showed the movie on June 12, 2021.