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TopBilled

HE WALKED BY NIGHT (1948)

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So glad that TCM showed a nice-looking print of this film today.  Previously, when I rented the title thru Netflix, it must have been a public domain copy and not the best quality to view.  It truly deserves to be seen the way it was originally shown on screen, with its sharp atmospheric cinematography fully intact.

Richard Basehart, Scott Brady and Jack Webb all do an excellent job. Webb would take the idea and run with it-- launching the popular Dragnet series on radio and television.

HE WALKED BY NIGHT was produced by Bryan Foy at Eagle-Lion.  It would be wonderful if TCM devoted an entire evening to Eagle-Lion's best crime films.  Another one worth viewing is CANON CITY (again featuring Scott Brady, but on the other side of the law this time, as an escaped inmate).  Or even if TCM re-ran HE WALKED BY NIGHT with the DRAGNET movie and made it a Jack Webb double feature.  Who wouldn't love that...!

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Richard Basehart may be the most underrated  (underappreciated) actor of noir films.  TCM should have a night of his films sometime.

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Richard Basehart may be the most underrated  (underappreciated) actor of noir films.  TCM should have a night of his films sometime.

Yes, I do like Basehart-- he certainly turns in some creepy performances.  I am watching HE WALKED BY NIGHT again this afternoon.  I appreciate how tight the story is given the low budget-- it is very well made.

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Always a favorite. Richard Basehart's near perfection in concealing his interests, identity and whereabouts almost borders on the sci-fi genre. It sure wouldn't have taken much to nudge it in that direction.

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I can recall, many years ago, seeing part of Tension - probably the last half or so. I don't remember the first half at all. I'm glad you mentioned this because it is one I would like to revisit.

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I have the dvd of TENSION and Audrey Totter has some commentary on it (she just passed away late last year).  TENSION is an above average noir film, and being  a low budget flick it is a bit of an underappreciated sleeper.

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I like this movie too, well done and very clever. Also Moby Dick and 14 Hours is another interesting movie where he plays a nut job out on a balcony.

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I like this movie too, well done and very clever. Also Moby Dick and 14 Hours is another interesting movie where he plays a nut job out on a balcony.

I think he was better at playing crazy than Richard Widmark.  Widmark was usually a bit over-the-top, but Basehart is more subtle and conflicted and pulls us in emotionally, even when he is doing bad things. He deserves some kind of retrospective.

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A really fine and { I agree } a much under rated actor. Fellini's "La Strada", Houston's "Moby Dick", Sam Fuller's "Fixed Bayonets", he was an all around and interesting actor. One of his finest roles was on the PBS 's "The Andersonville Trial" about the commander of the infamous Civil War POW camp where thousands died. It was directed by George C. Scott, who created Basehart's role on Broadway. TV at its best as was Basehart. If you ever get a chance to see this, do yourself a favor.. Also "Sole Survivor", a classic TV movie about a lost B-24 found many years after the war and the ghosts are still there except the one who panicked and bailed out only to become a General after the war,and returns with the ghosts waiting for him.  another excellent piece of work by Basehart...Just a month before his death from a stroke he was the announcer for the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in 1984 in LA. But most people today remember him as Admiral  Nelson on TV's "The Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea"....

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Basehart took on the title role in 1962's HITLER.  He excelled at playing sinister characters.  

One of my favorite young actors from the 60s and 70s is Keir Dullea, who reminds me a lot of Basehart, in terms of looks and playing emotionally troubled men.

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I'm not familiar with every character played by Richard Basehart but other than  Ishmael (MOBY DICK) and Adm. Nelson (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) did he ever play anything but a troubled soul or treacherous villain?  And for a long time I was under the impression that he was a British actor (his voice and general manner) but no, he was born in Ohio.

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I'm not familiar with every character played by Richard Basehart...did he ever play anything but a troubled soul or treacherous villain? 

If he did, I don't remember seeing it.  What's interesting here is that it could be said he was typecast-- or, more accurately, that he made certain character types his specialty.  He's good in THE HOUSE ON TELEGRAPH HILL (as a deranged husband) and in TIME LIMIT with Richard Widmark (as a Korean POW guilty of treason).  Earlier, at the beginning of his film career, he plays a violent member of a backwoods clan in ROSEANNA MCCOY.  He just really nailed these left-of-center parts.

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If by "troubled soul" a disturbed individual is meant, I'm sure there are some Basehart films where he doesn't play that type. One that comes to mind immediately is the 1976 film Rage. I haven't seen it in years, and wish TCM would show it.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069158/reference

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I like this movie too, well done and very clever. Also Moby Dick and 14 Hours is another interesting movie where he plays a nut job out on a balcony.

MOBY DICK is a good choice. Basehart does fine work, and IMO it's Gregory Peck's best performance.

 

Another great nut-job role for Basehart is in THE BLACK BOOK (a.k.a. REIGN OF TERROR), in which he plays Robespierre.

 

And about HE WALKED BY NIGHT: when he's trapped in the sewer, unable to lift the manhole cover, does that echo or foreshadow THE THIRD MAN? I don't know which film came first -- they were both released around the same time.

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"Walked" is another top B-noir. I so wish this one would be digitally restored. The existing print is somewhat poor. Basehart plays the part very well with a sense of panic and tension. Another must-have noir that scores 10 on all points. 

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23 minutes ago, decojoe67 said:

"Walked" is another top B-noir. I so wish this one would be digitally restored. The existing print is somewhat poor. Basehart plays the part very well with a sense of panic and tension. Another must-have noir that scores 10 on all points. 

In my original post, I noted how TCM had aired a cleaned up version. I've also seen a pristine print on YouTube, not long ago. So I think it has been digitally restored.

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28 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

In my original post, I noted how TCM had aired a cleaned up version. I've also seen a pristine print on YouTube, not long ago. So I think it has been digitally restored.

Great to hear. Thank you. I will try to find it and replace my ancient VHS version!

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10 hours ago, decojoe67 said:

Great to hear. Thank you. I will try to find it and replace my ancient VHS version!

I just checked YouTube. There's a good looking (restored) print of HE WALKED BY NIGHT. Just do a search of the title and you'll find it.

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9 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I just checked YouTube. There's a good looking (restored) print of HE WALKED BY NIGHT. Just do a search of the title and you'll find it.

Thank you. I'd love to finally see this great film noir with a restored print. 

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I saw this on Amazon Prime.    Fantastic unknown film noir.  I first saw Basehart in another obscure film noir called "Tension", which by the way is in my opinion a unknown MASTERPIECE.  He plays a totally different character in this one.  Its more of a B noir but it plays very well.  The sewer scenes draw comparisons to " The Third Man".  Its a very well worth while film to watch.

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15 minutes ago, Moorman said:

I saw this on Amazon Prime.    Fantastic unknown film noir.  I first saw Basehart in another obscure film noir called "Tension", which by the way is in my opinion a unknown MASTERPIECE.  He plays a totally different character in this one.  Its more of a B noir but it plays very well.  The sewer scenes draw comparisons to " The Third Man".  Its a very well worth while film to watch.

Well both He Walked by Night and Tension are fairly well known by the noir lovers at this site,  but of course we are an odd breed.    As for the General public;   my guess is that a majority don't even know of the 'classic' noirs like Laura,  but instead might know those that have been remade like DOA, Cape Fear and Out of the Past.

 

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9 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Well both He Walked by Night and Tension are fairly well known by the noir lovers at this site,  but of course we are an odd breed.    As for the General public;   my guess is that a majority don't even know of the 'classic' noirs like Laura,  but instead might know those that have been remade like DOA, Cape Fear and Out of the Past.

 

Interesting.  Its great to know that those movies are known on this forum. I guess we are DIFFERENT, lol.  Like i said, Tension is in my personal opinion, a masterpiece.  I've got to watch it again real soon.

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50 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Well both He Walked by Night and Tension are fairly well known by the noir lovers at this site,  but of course we are an odd breed.    As for the General public;   my guess is that a majority don't even know of the 'classic' noirs like Laura,  but instead might know those that have been remade like DOA, Cape Fear and Out of the Past.

 

Yes, it helps when something has been remade. There were remakes of D.O.A. and CAPE FEAR, so that increases the likelihood a modern viewer might be familiar with the story, even if they haven't seen the original.

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1 hour ago, Moorman said:

I saw this on Amazon Prime.    Fantastic unknown film noir.  I first saw Basehart in another obscure film noir called "Tension", which by the way is in my opinion a unknown MASTERPIECE.  He plays a totally different character in this one.  Its more of a B noir but it plays very well.  The sewer scenes draw comparisons to " The Third Man".  Its a very well worth while film to watch.

The sewer scenes remind me of LES MISERABLES, because we have this wanted man who is now hunted by police.

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