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The Man Who Wasn’t There: Wendell Corey, Actor

Friday, September 6, 2013
7:00 p.m. Desert Fury
Lewis Allen (U.S., 1947)

You know when a town is named after a lizard something reptilian is in the offing. And so it is with Chuckawalla, Nevada, several acres of scrub desert with a gambling casino, the destination for fast Eddie (John Hodiak) and his gunsel Johnny (Wendell Corey). Throw in Burt Lancaster as the local sheriff and Lizabeth Scott as a disillusioned coed and you have the makings for another desert storm. A film noir in living color, Corey’s debut has him playing a cold-blooded thug who’s pathologically attached to his card-shuffling partner. Saurian-like with sappy eyes, he only warms up when the sun is down.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Robert Rossen, adapted by A.I. Bezzerides, Ramona Stewart from her novel Desert Town. Photographed by Edward Cronjager. With Burt Lancaster, Lizabeth Scott, Wendell Corey, John Hodiak. (94 mins, Color, 35mm, From Universal Pictures)