Bradford Galt (The Dark Corner)

Created by Leonard Q. Ross
Pseudonym of Leo Rosten
(1908-97)

“There goes my last lead. I feel all dead inside. I’m backed up in a dark corner, and I don’t know who’s hitting me.”
— Bradford Galt


N
ew York City private detective BRADFORD GALT can’t seem to catch a break in the almost-classic noir The Dark Corner. After being framed by his partner, he’s sent to prison. Sprung after two years, it soon becomes obvious he was set up. But all he wants to do is start over. Unfortunately, now someone else seems to be fitting him for a whole new frame, trying to jam him into that “dark corner” all over again.

About the only one who believes him is his loyal, long-suffering secretary Kathleen, played by then-unknown Lucille Ball.

A dark little gem, with enough twists and turns to keep things hopping, well worth hunting down. Ball’s ballsy, assured performance is a revelation, even better than her TV team-up years later with Mannix.

The place it falls down? Sadly, it’s Mark Stevens’ portrayal of Galt. He’s okay, he delivers his lines well, his shoulders broad enough and the cracks wise enough, but he lacks the crackling charisma of a Bogart or Mitchum–or even a Dick Powell–to truly bring this baby all the way home. He was much (MUCH!) better a private eye Charlie Norman in Time Table, a nifty 1956 noir he also directed.

Still, with a supporting cast of Clifton Webb and William Bendix, and Ball’s firecracker performance, some edgy cinematography and a decent jazz score, this one is one of the better films noir most folks (including, maybe, you) have never heard of.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Under the pen name of Leonard Q. Ross, as well as his own name, Leo Rosten wrote several screenplays (including 1947’s Sleep My Love) and over thirty books, Leo Rosten later created private eye “Silky” Pincus, but is probably best known for such novels as Captain Newman, M.D., The Education of Hyman Kaplan and its sequel, the gloriously-titled Oh Kaplan! My Kaplan!

Apapting the story for the screen were Jay Dratler, who also wrote the novel Pitfall, which was made into another solid little B flick (and directed by Andre DeToth), and Bernard Schoenfeld, who was only just starting as a screenwriter, and went on to a long career in film and television.

UNDER OATH

  • “… a 1946 film-noir gem directed by Henry Hathaway and starring a feisty Lucille Ball and painfully bland Mark Stevens. The film has art thefts, troubled PIs, and sinister Germans.”
    Josh Lanyon, speaking through one of her characters in The Dark Tide

THE EVIDENCE

  • “I’m as clean as a hard-boiled egg.”
    — Brad protests his innocence
  • “I can be framed easier than “Whistler’s Mother.”
    — Brad faces reality

ORIGINAL STORY

  • “The Dark Corner” (serialized in Good Housekeeping, 1945)

FILMS

  • THE DARK CORNER Buy this video Buy the DVD
    (1946, Twentieth-Century Fox)
    Based on the serialized novel by Leo Rosten
    Screenplay by Jay Dratler and Bernard C. Schoenfeld
    Based on the novel by Leo Rosten
    Directed by Henry Hathaway
    Produced by Fred Kohlmar
    Starring Mark Stevens as BRADFORD GALT
    with Lucille Ball as Kathleen Stuart
    Also starring Clifton Webb, William Bendix, Kurt Kreuger, Cathy Downs, Reed Hadley, Constance Collier, Minerva Urecal, Eddie Heywood and His Orchestra

RADIO

  • LUX RADIO THEATRE: THE DARK CORNER
    (November 1947)
    Based on the story “The Dark Corner” by Leonard Q. Ross
    Starring Mark Stevens as BRADFORD GALT
    and Lucille Ball as Kathleen

THE DICK OF THE DAY

  • May 15, 2021
    THE BOTTOM LINE: The hapless gumshoe jammed into THE DARK CORNER, a great little noir you (probably) haven’t seen. Also… Lucille Ball! 
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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