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Nightmare Alley (The Criterion Collection)

Nightmare Alley (The Criterion Collection)

Tyrone Power
Director: Edmund Goulding Cast: Tyrone Power
Tyrone Power
, Joan Blondell
Joan Blondell
, Coleen Gray
Coleen Gray
Edmund Goulding

Blu-ray (Subtitled)

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Nightmare Alley is the sordid tale of a conniving young man who, in the words of one of the film's supporting characters, ends up low because he aimed so high. Drifter Tyrone Power sweet-talks his way into a job as barker for a rundown carnival. He is fascinated by an illegal side-show attraction called "The Geek," a near-lunatic who bites the heads off live chickens and then is "paid off" with a cheap bottle of rotgut and a warm place to sleep it off. Otherwise, Power's attention is focussed on a beautiful if slightly stupid carnival performer (Coleen Gray) who works in an "electricity" act with an equally dense strongman (Mike Mazurki). Power also befriends an alcoholic mentalist (Ian Keith), who demonstrates how easy it is to fool an audience into thinking that his mind reading is genuine. When the mentalist dies after accidentally drinking wood alcohol, Power works his way into the confidence of the performer's widow (Joan Blondell), who teaches Power all the tricks and code words of the mind-reading racket. Power walks out on Blondell in favor of Cathy Downs, who marries him and becomes his partner in a classy nightclub mentalist act. But Power is dissatisfied with show business, and with the help of a beautiful but shifty psychiatrist (Helen Walker) he convinces several wealthy people that he can communicate with their dead loved ones...for a price. One elderly millionaire (Taylor Holmes) offers Power a fortune if he can conjure up the spirit of the millionaire's dead daughter. Power enlists his wife to impersonate the deceased girl, but at the crucial moment she has an attack of conscience and exposes the fraud. His career ruined, Power goes to the crooked psychiatrist for help, but she laughs in his face and calls the cops. He escapes the law by going on the bum, and before long is a drunken derelict. When he approaches a carnival for work, he is told that there is only one job open...as a "geek." When asked if he wants the job, the defeated Power replies "Mister, I was born for it." Based on a lurid bestseller by William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley was Tyrone Power's attempt to break away from romantic leads in favor of roles with more substance. The picture wasn't a success, but it proved that Power was more than just a pretty face.

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Product Details

Release Date: 05/25/2021
UPC: 0715515259019
Original Release: 1947
Rating: NR
Source: Criterion Collection
Time: 1:51:00
Sales rank: 9,963

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tyrone Power Stanton Carlisle
Joan Blondell Zeena
Coleen Gray Molly
Helen Walker Dr. Lilith Ritter
Taylor Holmes Ezra Grindle
Ian Keith Pete
Mike Mazurki Bruno
Julia Dean Mrs. Peabody
Roy Roberts McGraw
James Burke Town Marshal
Florence Auer Housekeeper
George Andre Beranger Geek
Oliver Blake Actor
George Chandler Actor
Harry V. Cheshire Mr. Prescott
Edward Clark Farmer
Clancy Cooper Stage Manager
George Davis Waiter
Henry Hall Man
Al Herman Cab Driver
Robert Karnes Hotel Bellboy
Mike Lally Charlie
George Lloyd Actor
Emmett Lynn Actor
George Mathews Knife Thrower
Jerry Miley Friend in Spode Room
Harry Hays Morgan Headwaiter
Maurice Navarro Fire Eater
Jack Raymond Hobo
Gene Roth Masseur
Laura Treadwell Woman
Jerry Wald Radio Announcer
Eddy Waller Old Farmer
Marjorie Wood Mrs. Prescott
Albin Robeling Captain
Hollis Jewell Delivery Boy
Nina Gilbert Worried Mother
Gilbert Wilson Husband in Spode Room
Charles Flickinger Bellboy
James Flavin Clem Hoatley

Technical Credits
Edmund Goulding Director
Bonnie Cashin Costumes/Costume Designer
Jules Furthman Screenwriter
Lee Garmes Cinematographer
Roger Heman Sound/Sound Designer
George Jessel Producer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Barbara McLean Editor
Cyril Mockridge Score Composer
Lionel Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
Ben Nye Makeup
Stuart A. Reiss Set Decoration/Design
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Russell J. Spencer Art Director
E. Clayton Ward Sound/Sound Designer
Lyle Wheeler Art Director

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