Hell's Half Acre (1954)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Hell's Half Acre was written directly for the screen by Steve Fisher, whose I Wake Up Screaming remains one of the definitive "film noirs". The scene is a rundown section of Honolulu, where there dwells a group of wannabes, hasbeens and never-weres. While trying to go straight in this environment, ex-racketeer Chet Chester (Wendell Corey) is shaken down by his former criminal cohorts. Chester's girl friend Rose (Nancy Gates) kills one of his tormentors, whereupon Chester takes the blame, assuming that he's still got enough pull to get off with a light sentence. Meanwhile, Dona Williams (Evelyn Keyes) arrives on the scene, certain that Chester is her long-lost husband. When Rose is murdered, Chester escapes from jail, intending to prove Dona's innocence--and to square accounts with the 10-year-old son he never knew he had. Elsa Lanchester provides much-needed laughs as a dotty cabdriver. Dismissed upon its first release, Hell's Half Acre is now considered one of the most durable of Republic's mid-1950s features.
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Republic Pictures Corporation (I)

Watch it now


Wendell Corey
as Chet Chester
Evelyn Keyes
as Donna Williams
Elsa Lanchester
as Lida O'Reilly
Nancy Gates
as Sally Lee
Jesse White
as Tubby Otis
Keye Luke
as Chief Dan
Philip Ahn
as Roger Kong
Clair Widenaar
as Jamison
Robert Costa
as Slim Novak
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Hell's Half Acre

There are no critic reviews yet for Hell's Half Acre. Keep checking Rotten Tomatoes for updates!

Audience Reviews for Hell's Half Acre


Where did this come from? Elsa Lanchester, Keye Luke, Philip Ahn, Marie Windsor, Jesse White -- a great cast. And actually filmed in 1950s Honolulu. I love seeing those images from so long ago now. The title's a little misleading, however. Yes, there was such a place in downtown Honolulu -- roughly what is now Chinatown. But very little of the substance of this story actually takes place there or portrays anything nearly as gritty as the real life people and activities that gave the area its infamous name. Kind of a sanitized half acre of hell. But I give them credit for actually going in to Chinatown and shooting the scenes they did. You'll recognize some of that whole Hotel Street milieu if you've ever seen the original Hawaii Five-O shows set in that area of town. Waikiki was already very different, though, by the time Jack Lord started cleaning up the streets. It's good to see it so 1950s underbuilt. What a difference a decade made.

Lanning : )
Lanning : )

Super Reviewer


Good cast, mediocre film.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Hell's Half Acre Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Hell's Half Acre on our Movie forum!

News & Features