High Wall

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High Wall
The High Wall movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Curtis Bernhardt
Produced by Robert Lord
Screenplay by Sydney Boehm
Lester Cole
Story by Alan R. Clark
Bradbury Foote
Based on the play 
by Alan R. Clark
Bradbury Foote
Starring Robert Taylor
Audrey Totter
Herbert Marshall
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Cinematography Paul Vogel
Edited by Conrad A. Nervig
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)
  • December 17, 1947 (1947-12-17) (United States)
Running time 99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,844,000[1]
Box office $2,618,000[1]

High Wall is a 1947 film noir, starring Robert Taylor, Audrey Totter and Herbert Marshall. It was directed by Curtis Bernhardt from a screenplay by Sydney Boehm and Lester Cole, based on a play by Alan R. Clark and Bradbury Foote.[2]


A man suffering from a recurring brain injury during the war, Steven Kenet, appears to have strangled his wife after catching her living in her boss' apartment. He blacks out while his hands are around the woman's neck. He confesses and is committed to a county asylum. At the asylum, Dr. Ann Lorrison is initially cynical about Kenet's story and his reluctance to undergo treatment. Slowly, she begins to doubt his guilt, and endangers her career when she begins to investigate the crime which eventually leads to another suspect.



The film earned $1,553,000 in the US and Canada and $1,065,000 elsewhere resulting in a loss of $101,000.[1][3]

Critical response[edit]

The New York Times was glib in their review, writing, "As straight movie melodrama, employing modern psychotherapy, High Wall is a likely lot of terrors, morbid and socially cynical. Just the thing for your holiday entertainment—unless, of course, you are sane."[4]

Film critic Dennis Schwartz called the film "a tepid and chatty psychological melodrama that is embellished with black-and-white film noir visuals by the adept camerawork of Nicolas Vogel," and discussed the problem with the film, "The other main performers are adequate but too bland to convince us that their romance was possible. Robert Taylor's personal despair was more like angst in a soap opera than film noir. The film's biggest faults were that it was never convincing as a mystery story, that the romance story was more Hollywood fantasy than real, that the truth serum is so casually accepted as the answer to establishing the truth and that brain surgery can so easily cure Taylor of his mental disorder."[5]

Writer Spencer Selby calls High Wall "Stylish, representative of late forties noir thrillers."[6]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ High Wall at the TCM Movie Database.
  3. ^ Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 401
  4. ^ The New York Times. Film review, December 26, 1947. Accessed: July 17, 2013.
  5. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, September 23, 2004. Accessed: July 17, 2013.
  6. ^ Spencer Selby (1984). Dark City: The Film Noir. McFarland Classic. ISBN 0-7864-0478-7. 

External links[edit]