Nightmare Alley 1947

Nightmare Alley

Critics Consensus

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 11

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,673
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Movie Info

Roustabout Stanton Carlisle (Tyrone Power) joins a traveling carny and unsuccessfully schemes to figure out the mind-reading act of Mademoiselle Zeena (Joan Blondell) and her alcoholic husband, Pete (Ian Keith). But when Pete dies, Zeena is forced to take on Stanton as a partner, and he quickly proves more gifted than his predecessor. Ambitious to a fault, Carlisle abandons Zeena and the carny to reinvent himself as "The Great Stanton," wowing high-class audiences in a Chicago hotel.

Cast & Crew

Tyrone Power
Stanton Carlisle
Joan Blondell
Zeena Krumbein
Ian Keith
Pete Krumbein

Critic Reviews for Nightmare Alley

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (11)

Audience Reviews for Nightmare Alley

  • Jul 12, 2015
    The seedy underworld of the travelling carnival is the setting for this cautionary tale. This is an excellent example of the film noir genre; Film noir explored the darker side of society, in addition to looking darker on film. No one could be more of an outcast than a carnival geek, although this film was not as lurid with reference to the geek as I expected. It is really more of a morality tale, a cautionary expose. The key is the line that's repeated at the beginning of the film and the end: "How did he get so low?, he reached too high." Tyrone Power excels as Stanton, an opportunistic sociopath chewing through victims, taking advantage of everyone he meets, and Colleen Gray is "electric as well." What a beauty, and clad pretty thinly for the time!
    Clintus M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 26, 2012
    A touching, dramatic, exciting, romantic, interesting film. I loved Power as the young man who aims too high, goes too far, pushes too much to get what he thinks he deserves. It's pretty long, but very worth seeing.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Jan 13, 2008
    Good movie, with an especially good performance by Tyrone Power. He plays a magician/mentalist in a circus sideshow. One of his fellow performers dies due to a careless, although unintentional, act by Power, a death foretold in a tarot card reading by Joan Blondell. Power leaves the circus and starts his own mind-reading act with his new wife Coleen Gray. During a show he meets a mysterious lady psychiatrist who makes a deal with him. Telling anymore would ruin it, so I'll just say this -- you can't run away from fate.
    Cindy I Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2007
    a highly underrated film noir flick starring tyrone power who is usually the typecasted swashbuckler....a story around the circus and the art of con. power plays a drifter who seeks a job in the circus and acquires the trickery of conning art supervised by the senior con woman played by joan blondell. he escapes after accidently sparking off one drunk member's death....he elopes with another female performer who has a crush upon him, soliciting her as his co-schemer(and his marital spouse) as the upcoming fraud. then he recruits a female psychiatrist as his extended crew to enlarge the scale of his racket and evolve his status of fame....then he flops into the gutter due to one trivial failure of conscience. eventually he gets doublecrossed by the psychiatrist then becomes a degenerated drunk drifter without any perspective....retracks back in the primitive spot he begins...even worse, he transforms into an authentic geek which means beast-alike man without no intelligence. this flick amplifies the noirish cynicism to the sublime extremity, simmering with errosive irony: he observes the geek when he just joins the crew then utters "how could anyone get so low?"...also he disbelieves the old flame of bondell's used to be a master of con...at last, he sinks into the deepest low with double-level bastardization. power is notably a gorgeously striking man, and it's alluringly convincing to cast him as the womanizer, the taker who extract profits from female affinity, and he's made by women's benevolence but also ruined by the misdeed and the malice of women. just as the latin saying "what nourishes me destroyes me"...eventually his male beauty is despoiled of then devastatingly wasted that stimulates some shock effect to the audience, particularly when you recall the devilishly seductive expression on his face when he whispers love to his wife's ear then coaxes her tenderly into compromising to his next con, then you look into the carved uglified face later, then hearing him growling like human beast geek, what a shock....even he's still redeemed by love at last that doesn't dissolve a bit of its sour taste since it also parallels another sorrowful love story of bondell's character in the beginning. this movie proves the potential depth of tyrone power as an actor, and he's much more talented than most people assume. "nightmare alley" is the proof that he could be the noirish anti-hero as well...just as "witness for the prosecution" shows that he can be a evil villain... but his conspicuous male beauty is so pleasant to the eye that you just could not help but infatuated that overshadows the recognition of his talent. is that a blissful bless or a ill-fated curse?
    Veronique K Super Reviewer

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