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Walk Softly, Stranger (1950)

Walk Softly Stranger poster

David O. Selznick’s European protegee Alida Valli was teamed once again with regular Joseph Cotten for this postwar meditation of small time cardsharp, gambler and allround thief Chris Hale on his return to his home town. Except that’s not his name and he is charming in a way that his Uncle Charlie was in Shadow of a Doubt for Hitchcock.  He falls for the charms of his boss’ daughter Elaine (!) who is wheelchair bound since a ski jump accident at St Morita and she lets him away with obvious lies. Until his past begins to catch up with him. Happily they don’t part company at the end as they did for Carol Reed – but this time it is a different kind of happy ending. And the film actually predated The Third Man but stayed on the shelf for 2 years. Cotten had a great face and the camera dwells on it as we empathise with a man who has an intractable but not entirely insurmountable flaw. Another interesting entry for director Robert Stevenson.

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About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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