Roy’s Going Down: “He Walked by Night”

The nocturnal robber in the 1948 He Walked by Night ends up murdering a police officer and thereby brings down on himself a load of professional energy for his seizure.  Played by Richard Basehart in what is supposed to be a true story, Roy The Killer is a loner obsessed with electronics, for, after all, he himself is an alienating machine.  No emotion, no conscience.  He even shoots and leaves paralyzed a second cop.

He is L.A.’s public enemy no. 1 (so it seems) and gets his comeuppance in the huge dark city sewers.  The pursuit there is a visually striking scene, with direction by Alfred L. Werker and an uncredited Anthony Mann.  Crane Wilbur is the main writer for this filmic procedural with good gunfights.

 

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