He Walked by Night

Synopsis: In the Post-World War II, in Los Angeles, a criminal shots and kills a police officer in the middle of the night. Without any leads, the chief of the LAPD assigns Sgt. Chuck Jones and Sgt. Marty Brennan to investigate the murder and apprehend the culprits. When the dealer of electronics devices, Paul Reeves, is caught selling a stolen projector, the police identifies the criminal, and connects him to other unsolved robberies. Using the witnesses of his heists, they draw their face, but the true identity of the smart and intelligent criminal is not disclosed. The perseverance of Sgt. Marty Brennan in his investigation gives a clue where he might live.
Production: Eagle-Lion
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
79 min

This is Los Angeles.

Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels,

as the Spaniards named her.

The fastest growing city in the nation.

It's been called

a bunch of suburbs in search of a city.

And it's been called

the glamour capital of the world.

A Mecca for tourists,

a stopover for transients...

a target for gangsters...

a haven for those fleeing from winter,

a home for the hardworking.

It is a city holding the hopes and dreams

of over two million people.

It sprawls out horizontally over

of foothills and beaches.

Because of that vast area...

and because of a population made up

of people from every state in the union...

Los Angeles is the largest police beat

in the country...

and one of the toughest.

We're going to take you into the City Hall,

where police headquarters are located.

Here, in Communications,

are the ears and voice of the police.

The lights on the complaint board

flash 24 hours a day.

Citizens reporting a prowler, a lost child,

a man molesting a woman...

an auto accident, a wild party.

Spend an hour or two here, and you'll think

the whole city has gone berserk.

Minute by minute, the orders go out

to the radio cars in the far-flung divisions.

Watts and Wilshire in West Los Angeles.

Hollywood and Hollenbeck Heights

in North Hollywood.

The work of the police, like that of woman,

is never done.

This is the case history of a killer...

taken from the files

of the Detective Division.

The facts are told here as they happened.

The story properly starts here

in Hollywood division headquarters...

at 1:
00 of a June morning last year.

Officer Robert Rowlins had finished

his tour of duty and signed out.

It had been a tough day.

He'd be glad to get home.

His wife would be waiting up for him,

as she always did.

Hey, fella. Come here.

What were you doing

back at that radio shop?

Just looking. I was on my way home.

- Live around here?

- A couple of blocks down.

- Let me see some identification.

- Sure.

I guess I forgot my wallet.

Look, lad,

I've got to see some identification.

How about my army discharge?

I got it right here.

Police Department, Operator 27.

I want to report the shooting of a policeman.

Hold on, please.

Give me that again.

I'm calling to report

the shooting of a policeman.

- What's the address?

- 5057 State Street, west of Santa Monica.

Just a minute.

Receiving Hospital, Operator 2.

Operator 27, 5-0-5-7 State Street.

Send an ambulance.

All units.

All units in the vicinity of State Street,

Santa Monica Boulevard.

Proceed at once to 5057 State Street.

An officer shot. Code 3.

- 80K to Control One.

- Control One to 80K, go ahead.

This is Breen.

Tell Homicide to throw out a dragnet...

and pick up anyone suspicious

in the area of the shooting.

Also notify Sergeants Marty Brennan

and Chuck Jones...

to report to me at the scene of the crime.

Control One to 80K. Roger.

I see. What have you got so far?

Not much, Captain Breen.

A couple of cartridge cases.

- Hello, Marty, Chuck.

- Hi, Captain.


Who was first on the scene, reported it?

I was. I live here. I'm a light sleeper,

but my hearing is good and my...

Did the officer say anything

before he collapsed?

He gave a description of the fellow.

- He was...

- On the shooting of the officer:

Suspect is a white male American,

age 26 or 27...

Brown hair. Regular features.

Pencil mustache.

Repeat broadcast. All units...

- Is that about it?

- Yes, sir. Exactly.

And the officer kept saying,

"He looked like such a nice kid."

As if he couldn't believe

what had happened to him.

I see. Is that all?

Thank you very much.

Anything else I can do,

I'll be glad to help you.

We may call you.

Get his name and address, will you, Bob?

- This door been checked, Lee?

- Yeah, it's okay, Captain.

- Find anything?

- Nothing but some smudges so far.

Found this in the glove compartment.

I think it's nitroglycerine.

Doesn't look quite right.

- Check it down at the lab.

- Right.

Come on.

Open this up, Joe.

- No key, Captain.

- Pry it open.

Give me that bar, Frank.

Regular arsenal.

- Yeah, and get a load of that.

- What is it?

I don't know. It looks like

some kind of an electrical device.

United States Navy.

Either stolen or war surplus.

Send this to the lab and check

the serial number on that Navy equipment.

- Yes, sir.

- Captain Breen.

We found these in the weeds

over by the radio store.

- What have you got?

- A pair of cloth gloves, Captain.

He thought of everything, didn't he?

- Give them to one of the technicians.

- Yes, sir.

Marty, you and Chuck come along with me.

Let's go downtown and see

what they've picked up in the dragnet.

You know him, Marty?


I know his wife, too.

Ever since high school.

Captain, I wish you'd let Chuck and me

handle this case.

All right. But I don't want any dead heroes.

I just want the man who shot Rowlins.

The suspects began to arrive

at headquarters in droves.

The police tossed every motel and hotel

and many private homes...

in a four-square-mile area

around the scene of the shooting.

Every available radio car, patrolman,

and detective was out on the dragnet.

The strings were being drawn

tighter and tighter.

Many a man returning from a date,

a late party, or a poker game...

surprisingly found himself in a squad car...

its sirens screaming as it brought him

to the detective bureau.

The dragnet gathered in some strange fish,

and many ordinary ones.

All the rest of that night,

the detectives probed...

needled, questioned, quizzed.

Everything was checked:

fingerprints, names, addresses, stories.

Every fish in the net was examined...

most of them thrown back into the sea,

not worth keeping.

Except a few parole violators

and slightly shady characters...

whose stories needed a lot of verifying.

I wasn't prowling no cars.

Just taking a walk.

You know, getting in condition.

You were running

when the radio car picked you up.

Yeah? Maybe that's why

the guys call me Punchy.

He's got a point there.

Two felony convictions. No warrant.

He's on parole.

Book him. Violation of parole.

Let's have the next one, Joe.

What were you doing in that vacant lot?

The vacant lot. Lot.

What were you doing in it

at that time of night?

- You say your name is Ralph Henderson.

- So what?

It's a funny thing, Ralph.

There's a guy in town

who's been wearing your fingerprints.

Only, his name is Pete Hammond.

Okay, so I'm dead.

What's one more confession in my life?

Now you're talking, Hammond. Okay, Andy.

- Hello, Harry. What have we got here?

- Some robbery suspects.

Candidates for San Quentin.

Handsome here is the big shot.

He runs the outfit.

Have a gander at his record.

"Car theft,

escape from reform school, robbery...

"assault with a deadly weapon." Not bad.

Look at the heater we found on him.

German Luger, fully loaded.

Redhead here tried to carve up one

of the arresting officers with this pretty toy.

Nice boys.

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Crane Wilbur

Crane Wilbur (November 17, 1886 – October 18, 1973) was an American writer, actor and director for stage, radio and screen. He was born in Athens, New York. Wilbur is best remembered for playing Harry Marvin in The Perils of Pauline. He died in Toluca Lake, California.He was a prolific writer and director of at least 67 films from the silent era into the sound era, but it was as an actor that he found lasting recognition, particularly playing opposite Pearl White in the iconoclastic serial The Perils of Pauline. He brought to the first motion pictures merry eyes, a great, thick crop of wavy, black hair and an athlete's interest in swimming and horseback riding. Twelve years of stage experience prepared him for his venture into the new art of silent motion pictures. He was one of the first to explore the techniques required to communicate through the wordless shadows of the movies. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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