7.0/10
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31 user 9 critic

High Wall (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 17 December 1947 (USA)
After a brain-damaged man confesses to murder and is committed, Dr. Ann Lorrison tries to prove his innocence.

Director:

Curtis Bernhardt

Writers:

Sydney Boehm (screenplay), Lester Cole (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Taylor ... Steven Kenet
Audrey Totter ... Dr. Ann Lorrison
Herbert Marshall ... Willard I. Whitcombe
Dorothy Patrick ... Helen Kenet
H.B. Warner ... Mr. Slocum
Warner Anderson ... Dr. George Poward
Moroni Olsen ... Dr. Philip Dunlap
John Ridgely ... David Wallace (as John Ridgeley)
Morris Ankrum ... Dr. Stanley Griffin
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Kenet
Vince Barnett ... Henry Cronner
Jonathan Hale ... Emory Garrison
Charles Arnt ... Sidney X. Hackle
Ray Mayer Ray Mayer ... Tom Delaney
Robert Hyatt ... Richard Kenet (as Bobby Hyatt)
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Storyline

Steven Kenet, suffering from a recurring brain injury, appears to have strangled his wife. Having confessed, he's committed to an understaffed county asylum full of pathetic inmates. There, Dr. Ann Lorrison is initially skeptical about Kenet's story and reluctance to undergo treatment. But against her better judgement, she begins to doubt his guilt, and endangers her career on a dangerous quest through dark streets awash with rain. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

So tense! So taut! It closes in on you like a high wall!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 December 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Anklage - Mord See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,844,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

High Wall has a similar premise to Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945): a doctor falls in love with someone accused of murder and attempts to treat them in an effort to jog their memory about what really happened and who the real murderer is. See more »

Goofs

At around ten minutes, a group of doctors are looking at Kenet's skull x-rays. The x-rays are hung behind the illuminated frosted glass panels - so that we can see the x-rays, but the doctors could not. And the x-ray as we see it is oriented correctly to show a left side hematoma, but to the doctors, the x-ray is reversed meaning the hematoma would be on the right. See more »

Quotes

Steven Kenet: All this is confidential between doctor and patient isn't it? You're in a hurry to get in and report this aren't you? Well I can't stop you but just remember, you're the one who sold me on the idea of surgery, of fighting for an acquittal. Why did you bother?
See more »

Soundtracks

Home on the Range
(uncredited)
Written by Daniel E. Kelley
Performed by Frank Darien
[The old man in the tub next to Steve sings the song]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Murders and Medicinal Mania.
11 January 2014 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

High Wall is directed by Curtis Bernhardt and adapted to screenplay by Sydney Boehm and Lester Cole from the play by Alan R. Clark and Bradbury Foote. It stars Robert Taylor, Audrey Totter, Herbert Marshall, Dorothy Patrick and H.B. Warner. Music is by Bronislau Kaper and cinematography by Paul Vogel.

Suffering from a brain injury sustained during the war, Steven Kenet (Taylor) is further rocked by the realisation that he may have strangled his wife during one of his blackout episodes. Committed to a county asylum, Steven responds to treatment by Dr. Ann Lorrison (Totter) and comes to believe he just might be innocent of his wife's murder. But can he convince the authorities? Can he in fact get out of the asylum to find proof?

By 1947 film noir had firmly encompassed the plot strand involving returning veterans from the war. Plot would find them struggling to readjust into society, they would be battle scarred, emotionally torn or suffering some form of injury, such as a popular favourite of film makers of the time, the amnesia sufferer. High Wall is one of the better pictures from the original film noir cycle to deal with this premise. Where except for a daft method used to bring the story to its conclusion, it's a well thought out and intelligent picture.

The pairing of Taylor and Totter is one of the film's strengths, they are helped no end by having parts that requires them to veer away from roles that they were accustomed to. Bernhardt and Vogel dress the picture up superbly, the camera glides eerily around the asylum, throwing impressive shadows across the drama, and the camera technique used for Kenet's flashback sequences proves mood magnificent. Out of the asylum the visuals still remain beautiful whilst still exuding a bleakness befitting the unfolding story, with rain drenched streets the order of the night. While Kaper drifts a suitably haunting musical score across proceedings.

It's unhurried and cares about attention to details, and even though some of the ethics involved in story are dubious, this is a smart entry in the psychological film noir canon. 7.5/10


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