Nightmare Alley

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"He was all things to all men … but only one thing to all women!"
  • NR
  • 1947
  • 1 hr 50 min
  • 7.7  (13,232)
  • 75

Nightmare Alley is a classic film noir from 1947 directed by Edmund Goulding, starring Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, and Coleen Gray. This film follows Stanton Carlisle (Tyrone Power), a young carny worker who has big ambitions to rise to the top. After teaming up with the cunning and manipulative Zeena (Joan Blondell), Stanton learns the secret of mind-reading and becomes a sensation, headlining the carnival's sideshow. However, when he meets Molly (Coleen Gray), a lonely and vulnerable young woman, his ambition takes a dark turn, leading him down a path of deception and destruction.

The film is an excellent example of classic film noir, with its complex characters, shadowy cinematography, and morally ambiguous storyline. Tyrone Power gives a standout performance as Stanton Carlisle, creating a character that is both magnetic and chilling. Joan Blondell provides excellent support as Zeena, the older woman who sees through Stanton's facade but is powerless to stop him. Coleen Gray is also terrific as Molly, the innocent victim of Stanton's manipulation.

One of the film's most noteworthy aspects is its exploration of the dark side of human nature. The carnival setting provides the perfect backdrop for this, as the characters operate outside of mainstream society and have a certain nihilism about them. The film also examines the themes of ambition, greed, and the corrupting influence of power. Stanton's journey is one of the classic examples of the American dream gone sour, as he sacrifices his integrity and relationships to reach the top. The film also delves into the concept of fate, as the characters' decisions ultimately lead to their foreseeable and tragic ends.

The film's technical aspects also contribute to its noir atmosphere. The cinematography by Lee Garmes creates a moody and atmospheric world, with dark shadows and stark contrasts. The music score by Cyril J. Mockridge is haunting and evocative, adding to the unsettling atmosphere. The film also features memorable and often disturbing imagery, such as a tarot reading scene, which is expertly executed to create a sense of unease.

Overall, Nightmare Alley is a complex and gripping film that explores the darker side of human nature. The performances are excellent, and the film excels in creating a noir atmosphere that is both unsettling and immersive. The themes are timeless, and the film still packs a punch today, making it an essential entry in the film noir genre.

Nightmare Alley
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 50 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (13,232)
  • Metascore