Desperate (1947) - Rotten Tomatoes

Desperate (1947)






Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

With 1947's Desperate, a disturbing, noirish twist on traditional moral values, responsibility, and guilt, director Anthony Mann entered the ranks of class-A directors, though he'd still have to spend a few more years in "B" pictures. In his first important role, Steve Brodie plays newlywed trucker Steve Randall, who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time during a fur robbery. Kidnapping Steve, the criminals, led by Walt Radak (Raymond Burr), threaten to mutilate Mrs. Randall (Audrey Long) unless Steve confesses to a murder committed by Radak's brother during the theft. Pretending to play along with the villains, Steve manages to escape with his wife in tow. The rest of the film is a prolonged chase, with the Randalls pursued by both the crooks and the cops. A surprise ending caps this film noir mini-classic, which is best appreciated when not seen in its computer-colorized version.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Dorothy Atlas, Harry Essex, Martin Rackin, Harry J. Essex
In Theaters:
RKO Pictures


Steve Brodie
as Steve Randall
Raymond Burr
as Walt Radak
Audrey Long
as Anne Randall
Paul E. Burns
as Uncle Jan
Ilka Gruning
as Aunt Klara
Larry Nunn
as Al Radak
Robert Bray
as Policeman
Carl Kent
as Detective
Carol Forman
as Mrs. Roberts
Erville Alderson
as Simon Pringle
Teddy Infur
as Richard
Ralf Harolde
as Doctor with Walt
Bill Wallace
as Policeman
Carl Saxe
as Policeman
Jay Norris
as Villager
Dick Elliott
as Hat Lewis
Charles Flynn
as State Trooper
Art Miles
as Truck Driver
Glen Knight
as Truck Driver
Hans Herbert
as Rev. Alex
Elena Warren
as Mrs. Oliver
Robert Clarke
as Bus Driver
Netta Packer
as Woman on Train
George Anderson
as Man on Train
Donald Kerr
as Vendor on Train
Frank O'Connor
as Conductor
William Norton Baile...
as Traveling Salesman
Marshall Ruth
as Traveling Salesman
Jack Baxley
as Dr. Wilson
Joe Recht
as Bellhop
Eddie Parks
as Mr. Franks
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News & Interviews for Desperate

Critic Reviews for Desperate

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

[Has] Mann's sense of coiled violence, just waiting to unload.

Full Review… | July 16, 2010
Combustible Celluloid

The story is standard urban crime stuff, but the director throws in a treasure trove of flourishes.

Full Review… | May 5, 2010
East Bay Express

Nicely done crime thriller, with some great visual set pieces.

Full Review… | August 9, 2007
Classic Film and Television

Anthony Mann is a master at directing these cheapie films and making them look stylish.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Desperate

Desperate starts off as a hokey enough and paint-by-numbers film noir thriller about a good guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. The story's straightforward and frankly, its not exactly something you haven't seen before. But what makes Desperate a bit better is director Anthony Mann's direction and the way he takes a reasonably lukewarm story then builds and builds--right up to a fantastic stairway climax worthy of the Film Noir Hall of Fame. A must see for fans of Mann (especially when you see glimpses of what would later become some of the greatest westerns ever that he would later make), that final scene aside, not so much for fans of noir. Consider it a small part of a bigger potato chip at the bottom of the bag when you've already eaten all the greater ones--you don't necessarily regret taking it in but it won't be the one you remember the bag for...

Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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