Film Noir Friday: Nightmare Alley [1947]


Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open. Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat.

Tonight’s feature is NIGHTMARE ALLEY starring Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray and Helen Walker.

TCM says:

An ambitious carnival worker attempts to scam his way out of the carnival in this brutal noir.

Stan Carlisle, an amoral carnival roustabout, exhibits a morbid fascination with the geek, a sideshow drunk who bites off the heads of live chickens in exchange for a daily bottle of liqour. Stan works with Zeena, a phony psychic who performs a mind reading act with her drunken husband Pete. Becoming intrigued when Molly, the naïve young assistant to Bruno the Strongman, tells him that Zeena and Pete were once vaudeville headliners who developed an elaborate word code worth its weight in gold, the handsome, highly manipulative Stan suggests that Zeena teach him the code so that they can work together. Zeena, who blames herself for her husband’s dissipation, rejects Stan’s proposal until he shrewdly suggests that their new act could fund the cost of Pete’s cure. When Zeena consults her tarot cards for direction, however, they portend Pete’s death, and alarmed, Zeena balks at making Stan her partner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *