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directed by Reginald Le Borg
USA 1947


The alcoholic blackout - and the morning after when there are dreadful questions to which memory can't supply the answers - is a recurrent theme in the work of Cornell Woolrich. No stranger to the lure of the bottle, he reveled in a queasy sort of masochistic guilt which he tried to exorcise through his obsessive fiction.

In Reginald Le Borg's Fall Guy, based on Woolrich's story `Cocaine' (though `Ethanol' would be the more apt title), Clifford Penn wakes up in a psych ward. There's blood on his clothes, and the police are barking questions at him. He gives them the slip and heads home where his brother-in-law, police detective Robert Armstrong, tries to straighten him out with black coffee. Armstrong's benders are frequent, to the disgust of Armstrong and Penn's fiancée Teala Loring (her guardian, `family friend' Charles Arnt, is especially sour on Penn's shenanigans). But this time Penn is convinced he killed a woman.

Fragments of the past start to resurface. A stranger at a bar (Elisha Cook) invited him to a party; there a blonde (Virginia Dale) sang `Tootin' My Own Horn' and urged him to drink up (they slipped him a high-powered Mickey Finn). When he came to next morning, a dead blonde tumbled out of the closet; he picked up the knife as a keepsake (who wouldn't?), then ran into the police.

When Penn and Armstrong try to retrace his drunken steps, odd things occur. Cook at first denies ever having met Penn, then gets shoved into traffic. Penn catches sight of the horn-tootin' blonde, supposedly dead; they finally track her down, but somebody else is following her trail as well....

Excerpt of review from Bill McVicar for located HERE


Theatrical Release: 15 March 1947 (USA)

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Film Noir Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:03:50

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.95 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: April 23rd, 2013
Keep Case

Chapters 22



There were three film noirs made from Cornell Woolrich stories in 1947 - Fall Guy and The Guilty from Monogram and Fear in the Night from Paramount - later remade as Nightmare . The plot of all three films is similar - a young man trying to clear his name for the murder he did not commit, but everything points to him being a murderer. Reginald Le Borg's Fall Guy is a fast-paced programmer, clocking just a little over an hour. Leo Penn, billed as Clifford Penn and later known for directing episodes of many popular TV series and being a father of Sean Penn, plays a young lad found passed out with a bloodied knife in his hands. What unfolds is the usual Woolrich premise, with some great support from Teala Loring as his girl, Charles Arnt as her uncle, Elisha Cook Jr. as a stranger, Robert Armstrong as Tom's brother-in-law, Virginia Dale as a possible femme fatale and Jack Overman as her guy.

Monogram films usually don't fare as well as Warner or MGM prints, but this made-on-demand disc from Warner Archive looks very fine. There is still some damage on the print, but the contrast is good and the restored image is miles ahead of what this film looked before. Mono audio shows its age, but it is still clear. There are no extras available and the film gets 22 chapters. A fine release that can be easily recommended to any film noir fan.

  - Gregory Meshman


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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC


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