Desperate (1947) - Rotten Tomatoes

Desperate (1947)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Desperate Photos

Movie Info

The first entry in director Anthony Mann's series of noir films, Desperate is a disturbing twist on traditional moral values, responsibility, and guilt. Steve Randall (Steve Brodie) is a truckdriver who accidently is involved with a gang in the murder of a cop. One of the gang is captured, convicted, and sentenced to die in the electric chair. To save his fellow gang member. Walt Radak (Raymond Burr) threatens to murder Steve's wife Anne (Audrey Long) if Steve doesn't confess to the crime. Steve and Anne flee to an isolated farm but they are found, leading to a violent conclusion. Mann directs with an assured style and creates a world in which physical violence is very real and very brutal. Steve Randall , while innocent, runs for his life without even considering the consequences of his actions. Mann creates a grim world, hearless, unjust and driven by desperation.


Steve Brodie
as Steve Randall
Raymond Burr
as Walt Radak
Audrey Long
as Mrs. Anne Randall
Douglas Fowley
as Pete Lavitch
Paul E. Burns
as Uncle Jan
Ilka Gruning
as Aunt Klara
Larry Nunn
as Al Radak
Robert Bray
as Policeman
Carl Kent
as Detective
Carol Forman
as Mrs. Roberts
Erville Alderson
as Simon Pringle
Teddy Infur
as Richard
Ralf Harolde
as Doctor with Walt
Bill Wallace
as Policeman
Carl Saxe
as Policeman
Jay Norris
as Villager
Dick Elliott
as Hat Lewis
Charles Flynn
as State Trooper
Art Miles
as Truck Driver
Glen Knight
as Truck Driver
Hans Herbert
as Rev. Alex
Elena Warren
as Mrs. Oliver
Robert Clarke
as Bus Driver
Netta Packer
as Woman on Train
George Anderson
as Man on Train
Donald Kerr
as Vendor on Train
Frank O'Connor
as Conductor
William Bailey
as Traveling Salesman
Marshall Ruth
as Traveling Salesman
Jack Baxley
as Dr. Wilson
Joe Recht
as Bellhop
Eddie Parks
as Mr. Franks
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Critic Reviews for Desperate

All Critics (5)

B-movie as country-and-western ballad, seventy-three minutes of total involvement followed by oblivion: except for one's lingering uneasiness about unlit corners and warehouses near the river.

August 13, 2018 | Full Review…

[Has] Mann's sense of coiled violence, just waiting to unload.

July 16, 2010 | Full Review…

The story is standard urban crime stuff, but the director throws in a treasure trove of flourishes.

May 5, 2010 | Full Review…

Nicely done crime thriller, with some great visual set pieces.

August 9, 2007 | Full Review…

Anthony Mann is a master at directing these cheapie films and making them look stylish.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Desperate

Desperate starts off as a hokey enough and paint-by-numbers film noir thriller about a good guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. The story's straightforward and frankly, its not exactly something you haven't seen before. But what makes Desperate a bit better is director Anthony Mann's direction and the way he takes a reasonably lukewarm story then builds and builds--right up to a fantastic stairway climax worthy of the Film Noir Hall of Fame. A must see for fans of Mann (especially when you see glimpses of what would later become some of the greatest westerns ever that he would later make), that final scene aside, not so much for fans of noir. Consider it a small part of a bigger potato chip at the bottom of the bag when you've already eaten all the greater ones--you don't necessarily regret taking it in but it won't be the one you remember the bag for...

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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