Crack-Up (1946)

Genres - Mystery, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Film Noir, Police Detective Film, Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Sep 6, 1946 (USA)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

While it falls short of being a classic, Crack-Up is a very good mystery thriller and a welcome treat for fans of the genre looking for something a bit off the beaten path. Although often classified as a film noir, Crack-Up doesn't fully fit into that category; it's placed there generally because of the exceptional work of cinematographer Robert de Grasse. His masterful, chiaroscuro lighting and unexpected angles are firmly in the noircamp, and his atmospheric work is distinctive and original throughout. Director Irving G. Reis takes full advantage of de Grasse, and the two make a formidable team; the train wreck sequence especially displays how well the to go together. Reis, whose work is often uneven, is in full control here, and it's probably his sharpest, tightest work. Reis makes Crack-Up a gripping little thrill ride, helping to smooth over some noticeable cracks in the plot and to help the audience accept certain far-fetched convolutions of the story. The cast is also a big asset, from Pat O'Brien's put-upon Everyman victim to Claire Trevor's dedicated girl friend to Herbert Marshall's shadowy Traybin. Crack-Up may not quite be "top shelf," but it's a suspenseful and enjoyable train ride.