The Clay Pigeon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Clay Pigeon
Theatrical release lobby card
Directed byRichard Fleischer
Screenplay byCarl Foreman
Story byCarl Foreman
Produced byHerman Schlom
StarringBill Williams
Barbara Hale
Richard Quine
CinematographyRobert De Grasse
Edited bySamuel E. Beetley
Music byPaul Sawtell
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • February 14, 1949 (1949-02-14) (US)[1]
Running time
63 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Clay Pigeon is a 1949 American film noir directed by Richard Fleischer and written by Carl Foreman, based on a true story. The drama features Bill Williams and Barbara Hale, a real-life husband and wife.[2]


Jim Fletcher (Williams), a former inmate in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, awakes from a coma at a naval hospital, and is then informed that he has been accused of murder. As Fletcher is uncertain of his guilt, he escapes from the hospital to search for his best friend, another ex-POW.


Depiction of Japanese Americans[edit]

Although the movie shows Jim's Japanese captors as extremely sadistic and inhumane, it also casts the much-maligned Japanese Americans in a positive light. As Mrs. Mioto, (a Japanese American) helps Jim escape his pursuers, he sees a photograph of her deceased husband, Sergeant John Mioto, member of the 442nd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. It is accompanied by the certificate for his Distinguished Service Cross, awarded for "Extraordinary Heroism".[3]

Film noir specialist Eddie Muller speculates this is the first time the highly decorated 442nd Division, composed mostly of Japanese Americans, was acknowledged in a movie, and states that this was not simply the studio's formulaic trope of balancing something negative with a positive, but rather screenwriter Carl Foreman's personal progressive outlook.[3]


Critical response[edit]

Time Out film reviews wrote of the film, "Directed by Fleischer with tight, spare energy, although the implausible script and bland leading performances (with Hale as the dead friend's wife, initially hostile but soon losing her heart) make it much inferior to The Narrow Margin.[4]


  1. ^ "The Clay Pigeon: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  2. ^ The Clay Pigeon at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. ^ a b Muller, Eddie. "Noir Alley: The Clay Pigeon (outro) 20180527". Noir Alley. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  4. ^ Time Out Archived 2011-06-07 at the Wayback Machine. Film reviews, 2008. Last accessed: February 16, 2008.

External links[edit]