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Nightmare Alley (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on March 12, 2010

One of the great films noirs and one that still is largely and sadly overlooked.  Carny life makes a perfect noir setting, and the film is loaded with cynicism, desperation, and other black themes.  It explores hucksterism and con artists… with psychiatry being the biggest con of all.  It’s got a trashy, seedy B-movie feel to it, despite being a fairly high-budget production and a little bit of star power.  Tyrone Power is the protagonist of the story who becomes more corrupted with ambition and (naturally) spirals downward.  Coleen Gray was coming right off Kiss of Death, and looking even more drop-dead gorgeous.  And Helen Walker has a bunch of devious surprises up her sleeve as the femme fatale.  The film just drips with atmosphere, and crams a hell of lot of plot into its running time (it is a bit longer than the average noir, though).  It doesn’t have as much snappy patter as Double Indemnity or Sweet Smell of Success, but it just has a certain magic to it.  Rating: 10


6 Responses to “Nightmare Alley (rewatch)”

  1. Danny said

    I just watched this, and agree with most of your points. Walker really nails her manipulative psychiatrist role with such aplomb that it sells the movie wonderfully. I’m still amazed she got away with it.

    There’s some great lighting, and I’m always impressed by just how good Tyrone Power can be. I’m glad I watched it, and glad to see you liked it too.

  2. JC said

    Amazing film and I need to rewatch it.

    Thought i’d let you know, too, that on all the Fox Film Noir DVDs are all sale @ $6.99 each.
    Figured you’d see it here first! Time to go scope out your Top Noir list for good recommendations.

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