Somewhere in the Night
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoseph L. Mankiewicz
Screenplay byHoward Dimsdale
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Lee Strasberg (adaptation)
Story byMarvin Borowsky
Produced byAnderson Lawler
StarringJohn Hodiak
Nancy Guild
CinematographyNorbert Brodine
Edited byJames B. Clark
Music byDavid Buttolph
Color processBlack and white
Distributed by20th Century-Fox
Release date
  • June 12, 1946 (1946-06-12)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.5 million[1]

Somewhere in the Night is a 1946 American film noir psychological thriller film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, written by Mankiewicz with Howard Dimsdale and Lee Strasberg from a short story by Marvin Borowsky, and starring John Hodiak, Nancy Guild, Lloyd Nolan and Richard Conte.


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In the final weeks of World War II, a bandage-wrapped man awakens with amnesia in a U.S. military field hospital. As he recovers, he learns that he is George W. Taylor, a Marine who was severely wounded by a grenade. Among Taylor's personal items is an unsigned letter that curses him for something that he may have done to the writer. Taylor hides his amnesia and resolves to uncover his original identity.

Taylor begins his investigation in Los Angeles and finds a note in his old briefcase advising him that an account had been opened in his name at a local bank by a friend named Larry Cravat. Taylor searches for Cravat, leading him to a nightclub called the Cellar. Taylor asks people there for information about Cravat, but two thugs become suspicious. To evade them, Taylor slips into the dressing room of singer Christy Smith, where he finds an old postcard directed to her from a woman named Mary announcing her impending marriage to Cravat.

Taylor later returns to the Cellar on a tip from the bartender, who called claiming to have information about Larry Cravat, but it is a trap and Taylor is seized by the thugs, who are henchmen of the gangster Anzelmo. Taylor is brutally interrogated to divulge Cravat's location and is deposited at the address on the postcard, Christy's apartment. While there, Taylor asks Christy about Mary, whom he assumes is Cravat's wife. Christy relates that Cravat left Mary at the altar, and she subsequently died in a street accident. Taylor confides in Christy about his amnesia.

Christy introduces Taylor to the Cellar's owner Mel Phillips, who arranges a meeting with police lieutenant Donald Kendall to learn more about Cravat. Taylor assumes a pseudonym for the meeting, wishing to protect his identity. Kendall reveals that years ago, a Nazi official who planned to defect sent $2 million in cash to the U.S. for safekeeping, but he was executed before he could escape Germany. The money, in $1,000 bills that could not be spent or exchanged without attracting government attention, changed hands many times until it was brought to Los Angeles in December 1942. Cravat, a private detective at the time, is alleged to have stolen the money and murdered its carrier before vanishing. Kendall also notes that the police want to question Taylor because his recent activities have revived the Cravat case.

A message signed "L.C." is found on Christy's car, which eventually leads Taylor to a fortune teller at Terminal Dock whom he recognizes as Anzelmo. Also hunting for Cravat and the $2 million, Anzelmo divulges that the money's original carrier was a man named Steele who was murdered at the dock. The crime was witnessed by a dockworker named Michael Conroy, who saw a third man with Cravat and Steele. Anzelmo accuses Taylor of being the third man and threatens to frame him as the killer unless he will lead Anzelmo to Cravat. Taylor tracks Conroy to a sanatorium, where he finds Conroy dying of a stab wound. Conroy discloses that after the Steele murder, he found a suitcase that had been left behind and hid it under Terminal Dock, but he dies before he can name the suitcase's owner and Steele's killer.

Kendall visits Christy's apartment in search of Taylor, who is wanted for the murder of Conroy. After Kendall leaves, Taylor and Christy drive to Terminal Dock to retrieve the suitcase. They find the $2 million intact and clothing with a label bearing the name of Larry Cravat. Taylor realizes that he is Cravat, and that after the Steele murder, he must have assumed a new identity and enlisted in the Marines to hide. He shows the unsigned letter to Christy, who verifies that it was written by Mary after Cravat abandoned her. Taylor and Christy come under fire from an unseen assailant and hide in a soup kitchen. Taylor has the soup kitchen's manager take the suitcase to Kendall.

Taylor and Christy are forcibly brought before Anzelmo, who demands to meet Cravat, but Phillips arrives with a gun and helps Taylor and Christy escape with him to the Cellar. Taylor realizes that Phillips is Steele's murderer, and Phillips admits it and clarifies what had happened in 1942. Steele had struck a deal with Phillips to launder the Nazi money, but Cravat learned of the exchange, pretended to be Phillips, and took the money from Steele. Phillips arrived to find Steele empty-handed and shot him, believing that he had been cheated, but then noticed Cravat running away and deduced that Cravat had the money. As Phillips threatens to kill Christy, Taylor offers to show him where the money is stashed and leads him to the soup kitchen. Once there, Kendall appears and shoots Phillips to disarm him, because after receiving the suitcase earlier, Kendall had placed the soup kitchen under surveillance. Phillips is hospitalized and makes a full confession to the police, and Anzelmo's crew is arrested. Taylor and Christy start a new life together.


Hodiak and Guild


20th Century-Fox purchased Marvin Borowsky's original, unpublished story "The Lonely Journey" and his accompanying screenplay in December 1944 for $11,000. Somewhere in the Night was Nancy Guild's first film.

The film was in production from November 21, 1945 until January 24, 1946.[2]

A radio version of the film starring John Hodiak and Lynn Bari was broadcast on Lux Radio Theatre on March 3, 1947.


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In a contemporary review for The New York Times, critic Bosley Crowther wrote:

As a straight piece of melodramatic staging, this Twentieth Century-Fox film is all right. But the story is a large-sized slice of hokum, starting off with the proposition that a veteran would be released from a naval hospital suffering from amnesia. And from this dubious point of departure, the yarn throws logic to the whistling winds as it recounts this veteran's grim endeavors to find out who he is. Assuming that such a man would bother to endure the harsh resistance that he does, immediately he starts out to follow a thin trail of self-revealing clues, the likelihood of such titanic mysteries in re his person seems logically remote. However, the greatest indifference of the writers appears to have been toward a reasonable clarification of the progressively complicated plot. The further this unremembering gentleman pursues his mysterious past and confronts various odd and brutal characters, the more he—and you—become confused. Apparently he and his associates fit the pieces together in the end, but this writer is still completely baffled. Who was who, and who got shot?[3]


  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century-Fox: A Corporate and Financial History Rowman & Littlefield, 2002 p 221
  2. ^ Somewhere in the Night at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley (June 13, 1946). "'Somewhere in the Night,' a Fox Melodrama Introducing Nancy Guild Opposite John Hodiak, Is New Attraction at the Roxy". The New York Times. p. 24.

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