Criterion Critics

Nightmare Alley (1947)

Episode #51

Twentieth Century Fox released Nightmare Alley to theaters on October 28, 1947. Edmund Goulding directed the film starring Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, and Coleen Gray.

‘Nightmare Alley’ Criterion Synopsis

Darkness lurks behind the bright lights of a traveling carnival in one of the most haunting and perverse film noirs of the 1940s. Adapted from the scandalous best seller by William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley gave Tyrone Power a chance to subvert his matinee-idol image with a ruthless performance as Stan Carlisle, a small-time carny whose unctuous charm propels him to fame as a charlatan spiritualist, but whose unchecked ambition leads him down a path of moral degradation and self-destruction. Although its strange, sordid atmosphere shocked contemporary audiences, this long difficult-to-see reflection of postwar angst has now taken its place as one of the defining noirs of its era—a fate-fueled downward slide into existential oblivion.

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Twentieth Century Fox released Nightmare Alley to theaters on October 28, 1947. Edmund Goulding directed the film starring Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, and Coleen Gray.

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