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Impact1949

  • 3.7
Successful businessman Walter Williams is about to be murdered by his wife and her lover, but their plan goes badly wrong. Suspense and excitement beautifully filmed on location in San Francisco.

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Member Reviews (4)

Good film with lots of early San Francisco locations that still exist, like the building used in Vertigo, as Kim Novak's apartment.

Not noir in the truest sense, but an interesting film. To me, the best thing about this film is the journey of Walter Williams. His character undergoes a transformation that is fascinating to watch. From an arrogant cuckolded twerp, a man so insecure in that he is madly in love with a woman clearly playing him like a cheap ukulele, to a grounded, honest, compassionate man who has reconnected with his blue collar roots and values.

IMPACT doesn't have the genius photography or literary pedigree of the great noirs, but director Arthur Lubin takes a break from Abbot and Costello to dish up an affecting tale of twisted motives and delivers a strangely compelling story of people who are just wrong. Brian Donlevy is great at leading with his heart but not his brain. Ella Raines plays the same role she played in Phantom Lady as the woman every flawed man needs. Helen Walker stands out as proof that you can't always trust a pretty face. Charles Coburn seems strangely off until one realizes he's doing an Irish brogue, then it sort of makes sense. The story verges on predictability, but is just strange enough to maintain tension. The whole thing is character-driven, and that's what holds interest.

This is not the best of film noir, and I think some would not even classify it as true film noir because there are SPOILER moments of optimism and a happy ending. However, if one is a fan of the genre and era, it is well worth watching. The soundtrack is sometimes overwrought and a few of the actors could be better, although the story moves well and I found it believable enough after spending a few moments thinking about the protagonist's choices. This won't be a four star movie for everyone, but it was for me at the time, as it was just the sort of old film I was hoping for.