The Crooked Way

  • 1949
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime

John Payne is mustered out of the Army. Suffering from amnesia, he's been a patient at a veterans' hospital. All he knows is that he's from Los Angeles. Upon arrival at LA's Union Station, he is greeted by Rhys Williams, a local police lieutenant. Williams is there with a few other cops, and they all identify Payne as a gangster who had a successful illegal...read more

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John Payne is mustered out of the Army. Suffering from amnesia, he's been a patient at a veterans' hospital. All he knows is that he's from Los Angeles. Upon arrival at LA's Union Station, he is greeted by Rhys Williams, a local police lieutenant. Williams is there with a few other cops,

and they all identify Payne as a gangster who had a successful illegal operation going in partnership with Tufts. This is all a shock to Payne. The next surprise comes when he meets his ex-wife, Drew, and she escorts him to his former residence, a local hotel. When he meets Tufts, he is promptly

rewarded by a whacking around because Tufts doesn't believe Payne's story and thinks that Payne left LA and joined the service under a phony name to let Tufts get the blame for an earlier crime. Payne is truly an amnesiac, but still finds Drew exciting. She's told by Tufts to take Payne to bed and

keep an eye on him. Williams gets to Tufts and wants to know about a particular murder that he thinks Tufts has committed. Tufts guns the officer down, then frames Payne for the murder. Payne gets away and Drew now believes that he has no memory of the rat he used to be. She is wounded by one of

Tuft's henchmen but manages to give Payne some information: find Helton, an old pal, who is undercover at a local warehouse. Helton tells Tufts that Payne is on his way and there's a gun battle between the two men. Cops arrive and Tufts uses Payne as a shield, but Helton manages to get Payne free.

The cops fire at Tufts and the film ends as Drew and Payne get back together and can only hope that he stays unaware of his former life. Nice photography of Los Angeles and a fine acting job by Helton as an authentic LA weirdo who lives with scores of cats. Small, chubby Helton began in films in

1922 and continued working until his death in 1971. The high-voiced, sometimes maniacal, sometimes silly, but always fun-to-watch little man could always be counted on to give a director exactly what he wanted.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: John Payne is mustered out of the Army. Suffering from amnesia, he's been a patient at a veterans' hospital. All he knows is that he's from Los Angeles. Upon arrival at LA's Union Station, he is greeted by Rhys Williams, a local police lieutenant. Williams… (more)

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