Wednesday, May 19, 2010

He Walked By Night (1948)- A True Story.

He Walked by Night (1948). Police Procedural film noir. Director: Alfred L. Werker. In reality, most of the film was directed by western/film noir director Anthony Mann. The film, shot as a semidocumentary, was based on the real-life story of Erwin "Machine-Gun" Walker. During filming, Jack Webb, began a friendship with the police technical advisor, Detective Sergeant Marty Wynn, and was inspired by Wynn to create the radio and television program Dragnet. Cast: Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts, Whit Bissell, James Cardwell and Jack Webb.

The story begins, when one night on his way home, Officer Hollis, a patrolman, stops and questions a man and is shot and wounded and later dies after giving a description of his attacker. Two police detectives, Sergeants Marty Brennan and Chuck Jones, are assigned to the case.

Roy Morgan, with no known criminal past is hiding in a small apartment listening to police calls on his radio, with his only friend.. his dog.

He makes a living, consigning stolen electronic equipment, to Paul Reeves, and is almost caught when he shows up to collect his money. Reeves tells police that the suspect is, Roy Martin. Brennan and Jones, stake out Reeves' office to arrest Roy. Roy, suspects a set up and in a shootout, shoots Jones. Jones wounds Roy, who performs surgery on himself to remove the bullet to avoid going to a hospital.

Roy soon, becomes an armed robber. During one robbery he fires his pistol, and the police find the casing. Lee, a forensics specialist, matches the marks on the casing to those found in the killing of Officer Hollis and the wounding of Sgt. Jones, connecting all three shootings to Roy.

Captain Breen, questions all of the witnesses to the robberies. They help Lee in making a composite photo of the killer. Reeves then identifies Roy from the photo. Roy hides in Reeves' car and attempts to scare him into telling him what Reeves knows of the investigation.

Using the photo, they learn name of the man they are looking for, is Roy Morgan. Who worked for a local police department as a radio dispatcher before being drafted into the Army. Brennan tracks him down through the post office and disguises himself as a milkman, to get closer to Morgan.

The police surround the apartment, but Morgan, is warned by the barking of his dog. He then escapes through the attic and the sewer pipes. Roy is cornered by the police and tries to shoot his way out.
Click to view the movie: He Walked By Night .

Viewers of 1950s low-budget science fiction, horror films and B movies know him as one of "those actors" (perhaps the actor) that always shows up somewhere in such movies. Some of the most well-known of these roles were as a mad scientist in the 1957 film I Was a Teenage Werewolf, as well as Professor Frankenstein in I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957). He also played the doctor who treats Kevin McCarthy's character in the 1956 classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and in the original 1954 Creature from the Black Lagoon. In 1957, Bissell played Larry Sands in the Perry Mason episode The Case Of The Crooked Candle.

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