I have been building my collection of the Fox Film Noir Collection for over a year now and recently added Nightmare Alley (#06) starring Tyrone Power to it. He stars as Stanton, a traveling carny who is always looking for a way to up his game so to speak. He becomes fascinated by a mind reading act from Joan Blondell’s character Zenna, which is a big scam. After a strange coincidence leads to the death of her husband, Stanton weasels his way into her life to gain access to secrets of the game. Hooking up with the carnival’s young hottie (played by the beautiful Collen Gray), he dumps Zenna and hits the big time with an excellent mind reading act in Chicago. A chance encounter though with a psychiatrist starts to unravel his grandiose plans and begins the long downfall of his character. Greed corrupts…will Stanton end up winning or will he slide down the hole?
This film was a pretty solid noir with some great characters and good writing to keep things going. Tyrone Power really owns his role, his character’s passion to reach higher heights and gain more money (by using everyone in his path) is intense. It is film that shows the dark side of the traveling carnival life and the joys and miseries that such life entails. The only problem I had with it was the ending. For me, it’s too happy (I like bleak). While getting to the end the picture, I keep saying to myself, “They should end it right here! It would be perfect!”
Overall, Nightmare Alley is a film noir to add to your collection. I have seen Tyrone Powers in a few films now and he really was a great actor. I need to pick a biography on his life.