He Walked by Night
Dir. Anthony Mann. 1948, 79 mins. 35mm. With Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts. Los Angeles detectives pursue cop-killer Richard Basehart in an electrifying thriller Mann co-directed without credit. Based on the real life case of William “Machine Gun” Walker, who gunned down a California Highway patrolman in 1946 and confounded police pursuers for months, He Walked By Night is noteworthy for Mann’s unforgettable contributions: the night slaying of the policeman, Basehart’s entrapment in Whit Bissell’s appliance store, the killer performing auto-surgery after being wounded in a shootout, and the remarkable climactic pursuit (staged prior to Carol Reed’s The Third Man) in the underground storm drains of L.A. Cinematography by John Alton.
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