Deadline at Dawn

Fate points the finger of suspicion... and one evening of innocent fun turns into a nightmare of MURDER!

Mystery Romance Thriller
83 min     6.3     1946     USA


A young Navy sailor has one night to find out why a woman was killed and he ended up with a bag of money after a drinking blackout.


John Chard wrote:
People with wax heads should keep out of the sun! Deadline at Dawn is directed by Harold Clurman and adapted to screenplay by Clifford Odets from the novel written by Cornell Woolrich. It stars Susan Hayward, Paul Lukas, Bill Williams, Joseph Calleia, Osa Masson and Lola Lane. Music is by Hans Eisler and cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca. Sailor Alex Winkley (Williams) wakes up with hangover amnesia to find he has a wad of cash on his person that he didn't have before his drunken exploits. Enlisting the help of dancer June Goth (Hayward), he retraces his steps to the home of the nightclub hostess who had befriended him the night before. Finding the woman dead, Alex doesn't know if he murdered and robbed her? So with the clock ticking, Alex and his friend have to find out what happened... "She's a blitzkrieg with hair on her head" Amnesia formed the backbone of many a good film noir picture, here we have a familiar theme brought about by a simple social occurrence, that of a drunken night. This sets us up for a mystery to be solved as our protagonists trawl through a backlot produced night time New York that's awash with a whole array of damaged or menacing characters. The dialogue is often sharp, where we get plenty of choice one liners and superb philosophical musings from Lukas' taxi driver who has joined the fight to prove Alex's innocence (in fact all the cabbies in this are real cool). This was Clurman's only big screen directing assignment, and in truth it's just a passable job and he's saved by strong turns from Hayward and Lukas. However, there's a nifty noir world painted and the pic constantly holds interest value. 7/10