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Nightmare Alley

Nightmare Alley

Nightmare Alley

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1947 / 111min / DCP

DIRECTOR: EDMUND GOULDING

CAST: TYRONE POWER, JOAN BLONDELL, HELEN WALKER

Step right up and see this startlingly seamy noir adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s pulp classic—also the source for the forthcoming film by Guillermo del Toro—a lurid vehicle for a playing-against-heroic-type Tyrone Power that seems to have slipped past napping Production Code officials. Power ladles on the snake oily charm playing unscrupulous “Stan” Carlisle, a crooked carny who seduces Joan Blondell out of her mind-reading act and into the smart set, where he’ll meet his match in the form of Helen Walker’s equally amoral psychologist. From seedy traveling carnivals to high society, Nightmare Alley offers a top-to-bottom vision of America as a wilderness populated by marks and predatory cons, and will change the way you think about the word “geek” for good. “This kind of wit and meanness is so rare in movies today that I had the added special pleasure of thinking, ‘Oh, no; they won’t have the guts to do that.’ But they do.”—James Agee