AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Dark Corner
Director: Henry Hathaway (Dir)
Release Date:   8 May 1946
Production Date:   26 Nov 1945--late Jan 1946
Duration (in mins):   99-100 or 102
Duration (in feet):   8,910 or 8,922
Duration (in reels):   10
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Cast:   Lucille Ball (Kathleen Stuart)  
    Clifton Webb (Hardy Cathcart)  
    William Bendix (White Suit, also known as Stouffer)  
    Mark Stevens (Bradford Galt)  
    Kurt Kreuger (Anthony Jardine)  
    Cathy Downs (Mari Cathcart)  
    Reed Hadley (Lt. Frank Reeves)  
    Constance Collier (Mrs. Kingsley)  
    Eddie Heywood   and His Orchestra
    Molly Lamont (Lucy Wilding)  
    Forbes Murray (Mr. Bryson)  
    Regina Wallace (Mrs. Bryson)  
    John Goldsworthy (Butler)  
    Charles Wagenheim (Foss)  
    Minerva Urecal (Mother)  
    Raisa (Daughter)  
    Matt McHugh (Milkman)  
    Hope Landin (Scrubwoman)  
    Gisela Werbisek (Mrs. Schwartz)  
    Vincent Graeff (Newsboy)  
    Frieda Stoll (Frau Keller)  
    Thomas Martin (Major-domo)  
    Mary Field (Cashier)  
    Ellen Corby (Maid)  
    Eloise Hardt (Saleswoman)  
    Steve Olsen (Barker)  
    Donald MacBride (Policeman)  
    Lee Phelps (Policeman)  
    Charles Cane (Policeman)  
    John Russell (Policeman)  
    Ralph Dunn (Policeman)  
    Tom Monroe (Policeman)  
    John Kelly (Policeman)  
    Thomas Louden (Elderly man)  
    Eugene Goncz (Practical sign painter)  
    Charles Tannen (Cabbie)  
    Alice Fleming (Woman in Galt's apartment)  
    Colleen Alpaugh (Little girl)  
    Lynn Whitney (Stenographer)  
    Isabel Randolph (The gushy woman)  
    Gilda Grey (Woman in mutoscope)  
    Peter Cusanelli    
    John Elliott    
    Pietro Sosso    

Summary: After New York police lieutenant Frank Reeves warns private investigator Bradford Galt, who is new to town, that Reeves's California friends have asked him to keep an eye on him, Brad, frustrated that his past has continued to haunt him, invites his secretary, Kathleen Stuart, to dinner. When they notice a man in a white suit following them, Brad puts Kathleen in a cab, instructing her to park by his office and follow the man after he meets with him. Brad then surprises the man in a dark corner and forces him at gunpoint to go to the office. There, Brad coerces him into revealing that his client is attorney Anthony Jardine. When the man spills ink on Brad's desk, Brad wipes it on the man's suit and sends him out, keeping his wallet. Kathleen tries to follow in her cab, but "White Suit" loses them. She finds Brad drinking in his office, and when she tells him she wants to help, he kisses her. He then warns her to leave and not get mixed up in his problems, but she insists on staying. Meanwhile, at a party celebrating the anniversary of elderly rich art dealer Hardy Cathcart and his young, attractive wife Mari, Jardine returns to Lucy Wilding, an older, married woman, the love letters he once wrote to her, having received a Van Gogh painting as blackmail from her. The next evening, White Suit follows Brad and Kathleen from a nightclub to her apartment, and after she refuses to let Brad in, White Suit tries to run him down in his car. A newsboy tells Brad the partial license plate number of his assailant, and as Kathleen and Brad wait at a neighborhood cafĂ© for the police to trace the plate, he tells her about Jardine: In San Francisco, Jardine, who preyed on wealthy women by seducing and then blackmailing them, was his partner in a law firm. When Brad caught Jardine stealing the firm's money, Jardine offered to drive Brad to his house to pay back the money from his safe, but instead knocked him out, plied him with scotch, and put him behind the wheel, after which he hit a truck, killing the driver. Brad received a two-year sentence for manslaughter, but was released early for good behavior. As Brad relates his story, White Suit parks his car in front of the Cathcart Gallery, and Jardine drives off in it. Later, after Cathcart leaves to buy a painting, Mari goes to Jardine's apartment, where she convinces him to run away with her the next day. Brad, having gotten Jardine's address from the police trace, visits him, and while Mari, hiding in the bedroom, listens, he knocks Jardine out after Jardine denies hiring White Suit to follow him. Mari calls the police, and when they arrive, Jardine sends her out the back way and only gives up Brad's name after they threaten to take him in for questioning. The next day, at an exhibition, Cathcart escorts some guests to his downstairs vault to show them the Raphael that he recently bought. The guests and Mari are surprised to see that the portrait greatly resembles Mari, and Cathcart explains that he worshipped the portrait ever since he saw it, and when he met Mari, it was as if he had always wanted her, too. After the others go back upstairs, Cathcart overhears Mari and Jardine plan to leave that night, and sees their shadows as they kiss. Cathcart then finds White Suit, the man he hired to follow Brad, waiting to report that Brad roughed up Jardine but failed to kill him as Cathcart had hoped. Cathcart instructs White Suit to call Brad and, offering to sell him information on Jardine, set up an appointment at Brad's apartment. After Brad sends Kathleen to a movie, he returns to his apartment, where White Suit, who has slipped in through a window, anesthetizes him with ether. When Jardine, summoned by Cathcart, arrives, White Suit kills him with a fireplace poker, then puts the poker in Brad's hand and departs. Awakened by the sound of Kathleen ringing his door buzzer, Brad drags the body under his bed and tells her to leave. Instead, she cleans the blood from the poker and rug, and says she is hanging on to him. They try to find White Suit, but the wallet Brad seized from him turns out to be stolen. Brad awakens the next day in Kathleen's apartment, and when they spill a cup of coffee, he remembers the spilled ink on the white suit. They contact the large cleaning and dye plants to inquire about a white suit, but find no leads. Meanwhile, White Suit phones Cathcart to demand his money, and Cathcart instructs him to meet him at his dentist's office that afternoon. Brad finally tracks down the white suit and goes to the address of its owner, but discovers that the man, whose real name is Stouffer, has just left with his suitcases. A girl, however, overheard Stouffer telephoning Cathcart and gives Brad the address. At his dentist's building, Cathcart pushes Stouffer out a high-rise window, and Brad arrives just in time to witness his death and overhear the cab driver say that his bags are still in the cab. Brad steals the cab, but when he and Kathleen search Stouffer's belongings, they find no helpful information. Brad then remembers that the little girl mentioned something about "cascara at the galleries." With Kathleen's help, Brad deduces that the girl was referring to the Cathcart Gallery and goes there, just as the police, who have found Jardine's body, arrive at his office to arrest him. At the gallery, Brad meets Mari, and while they both wait for Cathcart, who has gone to the vault, he guesses that she was involved with Jardine. After he tells her that Jardine is dead, she faints. Entering the room, Cathcart orders Brad into the vault at gunpoint, planning to kill him, but Mari, now revived, shoots her husband, then throws the gun down in disgust. Afterward, Reeves makes an appointment to meet Brad the next day, and Kathleen says it will have to wait until the afternoon, as they have a date to get married at city hall in the morning. 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Henry Hathaway (Dir)
  William Eckhardt (Asst dir)
  Lt. Paul "Bevo" Helmick (2d asst dir)
  Sgt. Dave Silvers (2d asst dir)
Producer: Fred Kohlmar (Prod)
Writer: Jay Dratler (Scr)
  Bernard Schoenfeld (Scr)
  Fred Kohlmar (Revisions to scr)
  Harry Kleiner (Wrt of new ending)
Photography: Joe MacDonald (Dir of photog)
  Atillio Gabbani (2d cam)
Art Direction: James Basevi (Art dir)
  Leland Fuller (Art dir)
Film Editor: J. Watson Webb (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Thomas Little (Set dec)
  Paul S. Fox (Assoc)
  Lorry Haddock (Props)
Costumes: Kay Nelson (Cost)
Music: Cyril Mockridge (Mus)
  Emil Newman (Mus dir)
  Maurice de Packh (Orch arr)
Sound: W. D. Flick (Sd)
  Harry M. Leonard (Sd)
  Charles Althouse (Mus mixer)
  Paul Neal (Mus mixer)
  Murray Spivack (Mus mixer)
Special Effects: Fred Sersen (Spec photog eff)
  Sol Halprin (Transparency projection shots)
  Edwin Hammeras (Transparency projection shots)
Make Up: Ben Nye (Makeup artist)
Production Misc: R. A. Klune (Prod mgr)
  Charles Hall (Prod unit mgr)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the serial story "The Dark Corner" by Leo Rosten in Good Housekeeping (Jul--Aug 1945).
Authors: Leo Rosten

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 12/4/1946 dd/mm/yyyy LP393 Yes

PCA NO: 11435
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Film noir
 
Subjects (Major): Art dealers
  Criminals
  Infidelity
  Murder
  Private detectives
  Romance
  Secretaries
  Set-ups
 
Subjects (Minor): Apartments
  Art galleries
  Blackmail
  Cads
  Ether
  Falls from heights
  Fights
  Frame-ups
  Lawyers
  Marriage
  New York City
  Obsession
  Police
  Shootings

Note: According to materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, Fox paid $40,000 for the rights to Leo Rosten's story prior to its publication in Good Housekeeping . Rosten published the story under the pseudonym Leonard Q. Ross, a name that he reserved for his fictional and humorous writings. According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, PCA director Joseph I. Breen objected to the original ending of the film in which "Cathcart" commits suicide because "the thwarting of justice can not be approved." According to materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also located at UCLA, studio production head Darryl F. Zanuck argued that the script must make perfectly clear that Carthcart did not hire "White Suit" to kill "Jardine," but instead intended to manipulate "Brad" into killing him.
       A Nov 1945 HR news item notes that Ida Lupino was initially slated to play the role of "Kathleen," but had to withdraw because of scheduling conflicts at Warner Bros. Publicity materials contained in the AMPAS Library add that Fred MacMurray was to star as "Brad." According to a Nov 1945 HR news item, Lynn Bari was tested for a role in the film. Materials in the legal files indicate that Eve Abbott appeared as "Jardine's" secretary, but that scene was deleted from the released print. Although the legal files include Nestor Paiva in the cast, his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to other materials in the legal files, the arcade sequence in the film was shot at a concession stand in Santa Monica, CA. An Apr 1946 MPH news item adds that exteriors for the process photography sequences were filmed in New York City. The Var review commented that Clifton Webb's role in this picture was similiar to his role in Laura (see below). On 10 Nov 1947, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a radio version of Rosten's story, starring Lucille Ball and Mark Stevens, and on 24 May 1952, the Screen Guild Players radio program broadcast a version starring Howard Duff and Claire Trevor. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   13 Apr 1946.   
Daily Variety   3 Apr 46   p. 3.
The Exhibitor   17 Apr 46   p. 1918.
Film Daily   9 Apr 46   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Sep 45   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Oct 45   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Nov 45   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Nov 45   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Nov 45   p. 1, 17
Hollywood Reporter   30 Nov 45   p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Jan 46   p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Apr 46   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   13 May 46   p. 8.
Independent Film Journal   13 Apr 1946.   
Los Angeles Examiner   11 May 1946.   
Los Angeles Times   11 May 1946.   
Liberty   1 Jun 1946.   
Motion Picture Daily   4 Apr 1946.   
Motion Picture Herald   13 Apr 1946.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   23 Feb 46   p. 2859.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   6 Apr 46   p. 2925.
New York Herald Tribune   9 May 1946.   
New Yorker   25 May 1946.   
New York Times   9 May 46   p. 27.
The Sun (NY)   9 May 1946.   
Time   3 Jun 1946.   
Variety   3 Apr 46   p. 12.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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