A gangster on the run takes a psychiatrist and his friends
hostage and the psychiatrist starts treating him like a patient.
Blind Alley (1939)
Directed by Charles Vidor
Written by Albert Duffy, Michael Blankfort, Philip MacDonald
Starring Ralph Bellamy, Chester Morris, Ann Dvorak,
Rose Stradner, Melville Cooper, Joan Perry
Based on the stage play by James Warwick
Charles Vidor has a long and well respected resume and Blind Alley may be one of his lesser known titles, but it’s a pretty solid film. It’s based on James Warwick’s play of the same name and it feels like one as most of the film takes place in one building. Home invasion stories aren’t used enough for the big screen in my option. There are so many routes that you can go with it and I really like the one Blind Alley takes.
Convicted murderer, Hal Wilson is a rowdy son of a bitch who escapes from prison with the help of his gang. He decides to stop at a house to hideout and the house he chooses just so happens to be hosting a dinner party. A renowned psychiatrist named Dr. Shelby and his wife Doris, are the owners of the home and handle the invasion much better than I would. It turns into mind games as Dr. Shelby begins questioning Wilson relentlessly, trying to figure out why he’s so violent.
Blind Alley is very short and to the point. We are inside one house almost the entire time and that’s something I’ve always loved in films. There’s a showdown going on downstairs between a murderer and a doctor, but everyone in the house serves a purpose. This is the first Vidor directed film I’ve ever seen, but I know he has some classics under his belt. Blind Alley has me interested in looking into his other stuff for sure.