The Dark Past

Synopsis: When a detective scoffs at his suggestion that an 18 year-old criminal be referred for psychiatric examination Dr. Andrew Collins, the police psychiatrist, tells him the story of his encounter with Al Walker. Walker had a history of violence and killed the prison warden during an escape. He and his gang took the Collins family and their friends hostage but when Dr. Collins learns that Walker has a violent recurring dream, he offers to help him decipher the dream and determine exactly what has driven him to a life of crime and violence.
Director(s): Rudolph Maté
Production: Columbia Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
75 min

What does a big city mean to you?

You may think

of soaring skyscrapers -

Monuments to man's creation.

But I think of the people -

The one and the many.

No names, no faces.

I'm one of the people, too.

I've got my routine,

same as all of them.

I rush for work,

Usually just in time

to catch the last bus -

Always late,

part of that last-minute crowd.

Yet, for all the similarity

of our routine,

We're none of us the same.

We're as different

as the print of our thumbs.

Ever think

about the differences in people?

I do -

Sort of a little game I play,

a guessing game.

Guess what she's doing.

She's hoping to please the boss.

And now here's the boss.

He doesn't look pleased.

And this beautiful young thing -

On the threshold of life

With her eyes full of dreams

of romance and music.

No dreams here - Only tears.

Not even room for tears here...

only the shame of defeat.

And his hopes never end.

Well, he can dream, can't he?

Oh, well.

The game is over for today.

No more guessing.

Now I've got to know

about people.

This is where I work.

Familiar-Looking place,

isn't it?

Headhdquarters for the city's

law enforcement agency.

Hi, Riley.

Morning, Brown.


No, I'm not a policeman.

I'm not a detective, either...

not exactly.

Here, every man is a sort

of specialist, an expert.

There may be some fragment

of truth in the old saying

That it takes a thief

to catch a thief,

But there's

a lot more truth to the fact

That in this day and age

It takes an expert

to catch another expert.

And there are all kinds

of experts.

Police psychiatrists,

like myself -


at understanding people.

Morning, doctor.

Morning, herb.

Anything exciting?

Just the usual.

Like any other doctor,

I have my daily routine.

My patients are these men

Who blast their way

into today's headlines

With crimes of violence,

Now being brought in

for the morning show up.

I get my first good look at them

in the viewing room

Together with the detectives

who are there to memorize

Every last detail

Of their appearance, mannerisms,


Some of them don't look so good.

Some of them

don't feel too well -

Frightened, and show it.

This one doesn't show any fear.

He's a repeater.

For more than half his life,

You and I have been supporting him

In reform school, prison,

and penitentiary.

He knows the routine well.

Here's one who doesn't know

the routine at all.

He interests me.

He's young.

I may be able to help him.

John Larrapoe -

Armed robbery,

assault with deadly weapon,

Resisting arrest.

How old are you, Larrapoe?

He's bitter, the resentment

burning out of his eyes.

He's been hurt - Hurt often.

How old are you?

You ever been arrested



You're not telling the truth.

In the last six years,

You've been arrested nine times

as a juvenile delinquent.

You're gettin' paid

to know the answers, not me!

Take him away.

That's all for today.


Hello, there, doc.


I see you were the arresting

officer in the Larrapoe case.

I'm interested in that boy.

You and me both.

I'm going to recommend

that he be sent

To the psychiatric ward

of the county hospital.

Don't expect me to make that

recommendation in my report to the D.A.

Have you seen

his medical history?

There's nothing wrong

with Larrapoe that a good stretch

Of hard labor won't cure. He's a

bad boy; mean all over.

People behave badly sometimes.

Doesn't mean they're bad.

Yeah, yeah, you're gonna tell me if there's

a little bit of good in the worst of us.

Or maybe there's

just a little bit of bad

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Philip MacDonald

Philip MacDonald (5 November 1900, London – 10 December 1980, Woodland Hills, California) was a British author of thrillers. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Dark Past" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 5 Feb. 2023. <>.

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