AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Dark City
Alternate Title: No Escape
Director: William Dieterle (Dir)
Release Date:   Oct 1950
Production Date:   5 Apr--12 May 1950; addl scenes and retakes, 9 May, 11 May 1950
Duration (in mins):   97-98
Duration (in feet):   8,753
Duration (in reels):   11
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Cast: Introducing Charlton Heston (Danny Haley)  
    Lizabeth Scott (Fran [Garlan])  
    Viveca Lindfors (Victoria Winant)  
    Dean Jagger (Captain Garvey)  
    Don DeFore (Arthur Winant)  
    Jack Webb (Augie)  
    Ed Begley (Barney)  
    Henry ["Harry"] Morgan (Soldier)  
    Walter Sande (Swede)  
    Mark Keuning (Billy Winant)  
    Mike Mazurki (Sidney Winant)  
    Stanley Prager (Sammy)  
    Walter Burke (Bartender)  
    Byron Foulger (Motel manager)  
    Ralph Peters (Proprietor)  
    Greta Granstedt (Margie)  
    Stan Johnson (Room clerk)  
    Otto Waldis (Benowski)  
    John Bishop (Fielding)  
    Mike Mahoney (Cashier)  
    James Dundee (Detective)  
    Robin Camp (Boy)  
    Jack Carroll (Pianist)  
    Dewey Robinson (Gambler)  
    Jeffrey Sayre (Gambler)  
    Sally Corner (Gambler)  
    Bill Sheehan (Gambler)  
    William J. Cartledge (Bellhop)  
    Edward Rose (Bootblack)  
    Fred Aldrich (Civilian detective)  
    Owen Tyree (Desk clerk)  
    Franz F. Roehn (Photographer)  
    Jay Morley (MacDonald)  
    Mike P. Donovan (Sergeant)  
    George Magrill (Police)  
    Charles Sherlock (Police)  
    B. Reagan (Police)  
    Bob Evans (Police)  
    D. Thomson (Paper woman)  
    Laura Elliot (Stewardess)  
    C. Cross (Stickman)  
    M. Golden (Dealer)  
    Marcoreta Hellman (Bettor)  
    Ben Pollock (Bettor)  
    J. Casino (Bettor)  
    Sam Finn (Bettor)  
    Warren Mace (Bettor)  
    Julio Alonso    
    John Breen    
    Joan Morgan    
    James R. Scott    
    Hubert Kerns    
    Charles Dayton    

Summary: Cynical veteran Danny Haley, who is part owner of a bookie joint, narrowly avoids arrest when his place is raided by police for the second time in three months. As police captain Garvey has no solid evidence against them, Danny and his partners, Barney and Augie, are released. That night at Sammy's CafĂ©, where Danny's girl friend, Fran Garlan, sings, Danny meets fellow Air Corps veteran Arthur Winant, who is in town buying athletic equipment for his health club. After Danny spies a $5,000 equipment check in Arthur's wallet, he casually mentions a poker game to the good-natured stranger, and Arthur takes the bait. Although Arthur is cautious, he soon falls into an easy rapport with Danny's pals, including another veteran named Soldier, and regales them with stories of his overprotective brother Sidney. Fran watches the game, and soon realizes that the gamblers are letting Arthur win. Believing that he is on a winning streak, Arthur readily agrees to another game the next night, and leaves to meet Sidney, who is flying in from Canada. When he runs out of cash during the second game, Arthur starts to leave but, convinced that he will get lucky again, accepts a loan from Danny. However, this time, the gamblers ensure that Arthur loses by cheating, and he reluctantly signs over his company's $5,000 check. The next day, news of Arthur's suicide is published in the newspapers. Afraid that his death will be traced to them, Danny, Barney, Augie and Soldier hold off cashing the check. That night, Danny discounts Barney's fears that he has been followed, but when Barney is murdered, the gamblers are called in for questioning by Garvey. Garvey reveals that Arthur's brother Sidney has vowed revenge against the gamblers who "murdered" his brother, and has confirmed his homicidal intentions in a letter to the police. Danny still refuses to admit any involvement in Arthur's death, but when Soldier disappears, Danny and Augie decide to find Sidney before he finds them. Unwilling to make a commitment to Fran, Danny leaves without a word of farewell. In Los Angeles, Danny poses as an insurance agent and visits Arthur's wife Victoria on the pretext that Sidney had an insurance policy on Arthur's life. Although neither Danny nor Augie is able to find a photograph of Sidney or get any information about him, Danny falls in love with Victoria, and becomes fond of her son Billy. Victoria finally reveals that Sidney is a psychopath, and that in an effort to protect Billy, she burned all photographs of him. When Danny reveals his true identity, Victoria throws him out, and Danny is then arrested for Augie's murder. Garvey, believing in Danny's innocence, agrees to his release on condition that he leave Los Angeles, and the police then reject Danny's suggestion that he be used as a decoy for the real killer. Danny tracks down Soldier at Swede's, a small nightclub and casino in Las Vegas, and Soldier gets him a job as a croupier. When Fran shows up at the casino, she and Danny reunite, and Swede hires her to perform. On the night of Fran's debut, Danny gambles with his earnings. Fran takes a call from Victoria, who warns her that Sidney has tracked Danny to Las Vegas. As Fran brings the message to Danny, he doubles his winnings, and asks her to send a cashier's check for the amount to Victoria the next day. Believing that Danny is in love with Victoria, Fran plans to return to Chicago. Danny, meanwhile, is attacked in his hotel room by Sidney. After a struggle, Sidney starts to strangle Danny, but Garvey and the police burst into the room. Garvey shoots Sidney, who then escapes through a window, after which Garvey reveals that he took Danny's suggestion and used him as a decoy. The next day, Danny reunites with Fran before she boards her flight to Chicago. 

Production Company: Paramount Pictures Corp.  
Production Text: A Hal Wallis Production
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures Corp.  
Director: William Dieterle (Dir)
  Richard McWhorter (Asst dir)
  Gerd Oswald (2d asst dir)
  Rudy McKool (Dial dir)
Producer: Hal B. Wallis (Prod)
  Jack Saper (Asst to prod)
Writer: John Meredyth Lucas (Scr)
  Larry Marcus (Scr)
  Ketti Frings (Adpt)
  Larry Marcus (From a story by)
  Leonardo Bercovici (Contr to trt)
  Carl Foreman (Contr wrt)
Photography: Victor Milner (Dir of photog)
  Haskell Boggs (2d cam)
  Schuyler Sanford (Asst cam)
  Earl Crowell (Gaffer)
  Malcolm Bulloch (Stills)
Art Direction: Hans Dreier (Art dir)
  Franz Bachelin (Art dir)
Film Editor: Warren Low (Ed supv)
Set Decoration: Sam Comer (Set dec)
  Emile Kuri (Set dec)
  Joe Thompson (Props)
  Joe Keller (Props asst)
Costumes: Edith Head (Cost)
  Bill Edwards (Ward)
  Grace Harris (Ward)
Music: Franz Waxman (Mus score)
  Troy Sanders (Mus adv)
Sound: Don McKay (Sd rec)
  Walter Oberst (Sd rec)
  Glen Porter (Rec)
Special Effects: Farciot Edouart (Process photog)
  Dewey Wrigley (Transparencies)
  Paul Lerpae (SPD asst cam)
Make Up: Wally Westmore (Makeup supv)
  Bill Wood (Makeup)
  Hedvig Mjorud (Hair)
Production Misc: R. L. Johnston (Prod mgr)
  Frank Caffey (Prod mgr)
  Richard Blaydon (Asst prod mgr)
  Bert McKay (Casting)
  Lupe Hall (Scr supv)
  Floyd Simonton (Pub)
  Paul Franz (Stage eng)
  Tony Denocenzo (Cableman)
  Charles Sickler (Grip)
  John Smirch (Mike grip)
  Chet Stafford (Elec)
Stand In: James Dundee (Fight coordinator)
Country: United States

Songs: "If I Didn't Have You," music and lyrics by Harold Spina and Jack Elliott; "That Old Black Magic," music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer; "Letter from a Lady in Love," music and lyrics by Maurice Ellenhorn and Judy Bennett; "I Don't Want to Walk Without You," music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and Jule Styne; "I Wish I Didn't Love You So," music and lyrics by Frank Loesser.
Composer: Harold Arlen
  Judy Bennett
  Maurice Ellenhorn
  Jack Elliott
  Frank Loesser
  Johnny Mercer
  Harold Spina
  Jule Styne

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Paramount Pictures Corp. 6/10/1950 dd/mm/yyyy LP392 Yes

PCA NO: 14592
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: with songs
Subjects (Major): Gambling
Subjects (Minor): Bookies
  Chicago (IL)
  Impersonation and imposture
  Las Vegas (NV)
  Los Angeles (CA)
  Police raids

Note: The working title of this film was No Escape . Pre-production news items reported that Paramount was considering Burt Lancaster to star in this film. Other news items and information in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library reveal that some scenes were shot at the following Los Angeles area locations: Griffith Park Observatory, Union Station, North Hollywood, an amusement pier in Ocean Park, the Wilshire Plaza Hotel and the Valley Vista Motel on Ventura Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley, CA. In addition, background shots were filmed in Las Vegas, NV and Chicago, IL. This film marked Charlton Heston's theatrical film debut. Hester made his motion picture debut in the 1941 film Peer Gynt (see below), but that was a student production with a limited release. About Heston's performance in Dark City , the Var review noted that "his film debut is impressive." 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   12 Aug 1950.   
Daily Variety   8 Aug 50   p. 3.
Film Daily   8 Aug 50   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Feb 50   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   11 May 50   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Aug 50   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   12 Aug 50   p. 433.
New York Times   19 Oct 50   p. 40.
Variety   9 Aug 50   p. 8.

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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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