Crime Wave (1954 film)

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Crime Wave
Crime Wave aka The City is Dark Poster.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andre DeToth
Produced by Bryan Foy
Written by Bernard Gordon
Richard Wormser
Screenplay by Crane Wilbur
Based on the story "Criminal's Mark"
by John Hawkins and Ward Hawkins
Starring Sterling Hayden
Gene Nelson
Phyllis Kirk
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography Bert Glennon
Edited by Thomas Reilly
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • January 12, 1954 (1954-01-12) (United States)
Running time
73 minutes
Language English

Crime Wave (also known as The City is Dark) is a 1954 film noir, directed by Andre DeToth.[1] It was adapted from a short story which originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post - "Criminal Mark" by John and Ward Hawkins.[2]


'Doc' Penny (Ted de Corsia) and his gang rob a gasoline station and in the process a police officer is killed and one of the gang members is wounded. The wounded thug imposes himself on Steve Lacey (Gene Nelson), an ex-con trying to start a new life, and demands he call a disreputable doctor for help. The doctor arrives, but too late. The gang member is dead. After his death, Lacey calls his parole officer who involves a hard-nosed cop, Detective Lieutenant Sims (Sterling Hayden), who doesn't think he can reform.

Later, the remaining gang members show up at Lacey's apartment. Fearing for his wife's (Phyllis Kirk) safety, he decides to let the men stay. Subsequently, Penny forces Lacey to rob a bank with them, but Lacey alerts the police (by planting a note in his medicine cabinet) who staff the entire bank with police officers and ambush the robbers. In the end, most of the gang is killed, but Lacey and his wife are safe.


Production notes[edit]

Location shooting at downtown Los Angeles' Wall Street in Crime Wave.

Much of the film was shot on location in Los Angeles and in nearby Burbank and Glendale. At least one 1952 location, Sawyer's Pet Hospital at the corner of San Fernando Road and Alma Street in Glendale, is still standing and still a pet hospital, albeit with a different name. Several locations seen onscreen, like the Bank of America on the southwest corner of Brand Boulevard and Broadway in Glendale (where the film's big robbery attempt takes place), as well as the distinctive dental building across Brand Boulevard, have been torn down and replaced.

The final chase scene from the bank in Glendale to Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles, though edited, follows the actual route, including Brand Boulevard and the Glendale Boulevard fork on the Hyperion Viaduct, until Steve Lacey reaches the house (possibly on Maple Street, just east of Los Angeles Street in the Chinatown district) where the crazed Johnny Haslett is holding Lacey's wife. The gas station in the film's opening scene was on Wall Street just south of East 3rd Street, near Boyd Street, but has since been demolished. Other specific downtown Los Angeles locations include Los Angeles Union Station and the L.A. City Hall Building (including interiors of the Homicide Bureau). The final scene, where Lt. Sims sends Steve and Ellen home, was shot on the 200 block of North Main Street, with Sterling Hayden leaning against the side of the City Hall Building.


  1. ^ "The 100 Best Film Noirs of All Time". Paste. August 9, 2015. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ Crime Wave on IMDb.

External links[edit]