Raw Deal (1948 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Anthony Mann|
|Produced by||Edward Small|
|Screenplay by||Leopold Atlas|
John C. Higgins
|Story by||Arnold B. Armstrong|
|Music by||Paul Sawtell|
|Edited by||Alfred DeGaetano|
Edward Small Productions
|Distributed by||Eagle-Lion Films|
Prison convict Joe Sullivan (Dennis O'Keefe) has "taken the fall" for an unspecified $50,000 crime but breaks out of jail with the help of his girl Pat (Claire Trevor). Neither is aware that the escape has been facilitated by their former accomplice Rick Coyle (Raymond Burr), a sadistic mobster, who has arranged for Joe to be killed in order to avoid paying Joe his share of the $50,000 take. When the break-out succeeds, Rick decides that he must have Joe killed some other way.
Pat and Joe kidnap his legal caseworker, Ann (Marsha Hunt), who has been visiting Joe in prison, trying to reform him. This begins a doomed love triangle. Ann shoots one of Rick's henchmen (John Ireland) in the back to stop him attacking and fighting with Joe. After acting in Joe's defense this way, Ann realizes she is in love with him. Relenting, Joe sets her free and prepares to flee the country with Pat. In their hotel room, Pat receives a phone call warning them that Rick has seized Ann and will harm her unless Joe and Pat come out of hiding. Pat does not want Joe to go back to Ann, so lies about the call, saying it was from the hotel desk clerk about their checkout time.
After boarding a ship, Joe attempts to convince Pat that they can start a new life in South America together. He even proposes marriage to her. A guilt-stricken Pat now confesses to Joe that Ann has been abducted by Rick. Joe races to save Ann from her captor. Under the cover of a thick fog, Joe manages to get past Rick's henchmen and sneaks into Rick's room. A gunfight erupts with Rick and Joe shooting each other and inadvertently starting a fire. Joe and Rick, both wounded, fight hand-to-hand with Joe finally pushing Rick through an upper story window to his death. Mortally wounded and lying in the street, Joe dies in Ann's arms as Pat looks on. Seeing the resigned contentment in Joe's face, Pat comments in voice-over that: "This is right for Joe. This is what he wanted."
- Dennis O'Keefe as Joe Sullivan
- Claire Trevor as Pat Regan
- Marsha Hunt as Ann Martin
- John Ireland as Fantail
- Raymond Burr as Rick Coyle
- Curt Conway as Spider
- Chili Williams as Marcy
- Richard Fraser as Fields
- Whit Bissell as Murderer
- Cliff Clark as Gates
The film was a success at the box office and was profitable.
When the film was released, New York Times critic Bosley Crowther panned it. "But this, of course, is a movie—and a pretty low-grade one, at that—in which sensations of fright and excitement are more diligently pursued than common sense...Except for the usual moral—to wit, that crime does not pay—the only thing proved by this picture is that you shouldn't switch sweethearts in mid-lam."
In popular culture
The title characters in Harlan Ellison's 1969 post-apocalyptic novella A Boy and His Dog watch Raw Deal, which is said to be 86 years old (setting the Ellison story in the year 2034).
- Raw Deal at the American Film Institute Catalog.
- Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry, University of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p. 31
- Crowther, Bosley (July 9, 1948). "Raw Deal (1948)". The New York Times. Retrieved August 31, 2008.
- Meyer, David N. (1998). A Girl and A Gun: The Complete Guide to Film Noir. ISBN 0-380-79067-X.
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