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I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes (1948) Online

I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes (1948) Online
Original Title :
I Wouldnu0027t Be in Your Shoes
Genre :
Movie / Mystery / / Crime / Drama
Year :
Directror :
William Nigh
Cast :
Don Castle,Elyse Knox,Regis Toomey
Writer :
Cornell Woolrich,Steve Fisher
Type :
Time :
1h 10min
Rating :
I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes (1948) Online

Tom (Don Castle) and Ann (Elyse Knox) are a down-and-out dance team, and while Don seeks engagements, Ann works as an instructor at a dance academy, with Detective Judd (Regis Toomey) one of the many customers she meets. On a hot summer night Tom, awaken from his sleep, tosses his only pair of shoes out the window to quiet two noisy cats. He goes down to retrieve them and can't find them, but Ann discovers them in front of their door the next morning. A near-by recluse is found murdered in his old shack that same day while Tom finds a wallet filled with old $20 bills. Footprints, bearing an imprint like those on a tap-dancer's shoes, plus Don's new-found wealth combine to make a good circumstantial evidence case for Judd against Tom and he is convicted. On the night before his execution, Ann seeks Judd's help in proving Tom is innocent. He turns up a suspect, Kosloff (Robert Lowell), but an air-tight alibi clears him.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Castle Don Castle - Thomas J. 'Tom' Quinn
Elyse Knox Elyse Knox - Ann Quinn
Regis Toomey Regis Toomey - Police Inspector Clint Judd
Charles D. Brown Charles D. Brown - Inspector Stevens
Rory Mallinson Rory Mallinson - Harry - 1st Detective
Robert Lowell Robert Lowell - John L. Kosloff
Steve Darrell Steve Darrell - District Attorney
Bill Kennedy Bill Kennedy - 2nd Detective
Esther Michelson Esther Michelson - Mrs. Finkelstein
Ray Dolciame Ray Dolciame - Shoeshine Boy
William Ruhl William Ruhl - Police Lieutenant
John Sheehan John Sheehan - Judge
John Elliott John Elliott - Mr. Lake - Tom's Lawyer (as John H. Elliott)
Dorothy Vaughan Dorothy Vaughan - Mrs. Alvin
Herman Cantor Herman Cantor - Jury Foreman

User reviews



A film noir that was all but lost but recently resurfaced, I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes brings yet another of Cornell Woolrich's paranoiac nightmares to the screen. Don Castle, a hoofer on his uppers, shares a cramped room in a New York boarding house with his wife and sometime partner Elyse Knox. While he frets in his bathrobe, a fifth of gin on the bed-table, she entertains gentlemen at a buck-a-dance academy. One night, he hurls his good tap shoes (actually, his only pair of shoes) out the window at some randy cats. When he goes to retrieve them, they aren't there, but mysteriously reappear outside his door next morning.

Next thing, he's hauled in for the murder of a reclusive old miser in the neighborhood. The impression of one of his shoes clinches the conviction (and it doesn't help that he just happened to find a wallet stuffed with the old-style bills the victim hoarded). He's waiting for his execution as the movie opens, and most of the story gets told through flashbacks.

The third major character is a cop, Regis Toomey, who had met Knox at the tango palace and taken a shine to her. Desperate to clear her husband, she feigns reciprocation of Toomey's interest so he'll help her out. Toomey's another example of the obsessive, stalking cop, created by Laird Cregar in I Wake Up Screaming (1942) and reprised by Richard Boone in its remake Vicki (1953). He breaks a new development in the case by finding the tenant of another room within shoe-shot of Castle's, but this proves to be only a rather tasty red herring. As the clock ticks down to midnight and curtains for Castle, Knox stumbles upon the clue that cracks the case....

Many forgotten films from the noir cycle turn out to be just what one might suspect: hackneyed, humdrum crime programmers. But, like Decoy, I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes surprises by its competence. The dancing couple exude appeal, Toomey and the other cops offer acting rather than shtik, and the plot unfurls with reasonable deftness. It even looks good. As a restoration to the noir canon, it's more than welcome.


This rediscovered little dilly wouldn't walk away with any awards, but it's the sort of grade-B fare that makes film noir aficionados jump for joy! As is remarkably common in such flicks, the fog of confusion comes in on little cat feet--this time in the presence of two fighting felines on a fence. The protagonist flings his shoes at them, and fate suddenly starts tromping roughshod over him and his hapless spouse. The plot is somewhat plodding by modern standards, but its patient unfolding allows realization to creep slowly over the viewer, so that the conclusion is all the more credible and satisfying. Fans of crime and mystery films of the forties and fifties should find this offering to be a runaway pleaser!


A husband and wife dancing team down on their luck finds some money that gets them into a lot of trouble - and the husband on death row for murder. His one pair of shoes condemns him. After an open-and-shut trial and conviction, the wife ends up taking on his case herself as the clock ticks toward his execution. Camera flashes between husband in cell contemplating his life and impending death while his wife and others (with varying levels of interest and investment) work toward a resolution and possible alternative outcome.

Truly wonderful Film Noir murder mystery with intrigue, a twisting plot and surprise ending. Keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way. Highest quality acting, directing and script.

Sadly, there seems to be only one print of this film in the world.


This film would appear to have been 'lost' since it's release in 1948, and that's a shame as while it's certainly not the best film of the 'film noir' era; it's a good one, and a lot better than many of the more popular noirs. The film features the trademark noir gloomy atmosphere, and this is excellently complimented by the shots of the city at night. The plot focuses on the idea of bad luck, as many noirs do, and the title is a lot more literal than you may think. The plot isn't full of ideas, and mostly just focuses on the central theme; which is a bonus if you ask me as it means that the director can spend more time building up the central situation and as a result; the film is ultimately more thrilling. We focus on a pair of characters; both out of luck dancers. One night, they are being kept awake by cats outside their apartment and so, as you do, he throws his shoes out the window to shut them up. He retrieves them the next day, and soon after their luck changes when he finds a wallet containing two thousand dollars. However, the police come to believe that the money belongs to a murdered man; and the husband soon comes under suspicion for the murder.

The idea that the plot focuses on is good, and the shoes of the title are the centrepiece object - which helps the film as it gives it a real sense of irony. The acting isn't the best, but all the performers do well in their respective roles. Don Castle convinces as the unlucky law abiding citizen, while Elyse Knox gets most of the plaudits for her central role as his put-upon girl. Regis Toomey, who has previously worked with the likes of Frank Capra and Alfred Hitchcock rounds off the cast nicely, and takes a lot of the focus away from Don Castle with his linchpin role. The plot plays out well, and even though the film only runs for seventy minutes; it has to be said that the film explores most of the implications of the plot, and this is always interesting since there isn't any padding. Director William Nigh does well in creating mystery and suspense, and the plot all builds to a satisfying and somewhat shocking conclusion that sees all the characters get a fitting comeuppance. Overall, this isn't a great film, noir; but it's well worth seeing and hopefully it'll be uncovered soon and given a DVD release!


A dancer chucks his tap shoes out the window at a noisy cat and ends up facing a murder charge. I could make a comparison to a certain other film noir (actually a film noir and its remake) but that would be giving away its surprising twist. Given the era, you know the innocent man will get a last minute reprieve, the trick is how we get to that point. When the realization dawned on me -- about 30 seconds before the first real clue -- it was one of those magic "How did I not see this coming?" moments. Certain plot points that at first seemed very contrived clicked into place (although to be totally honest, a lot of it is still kinda contrived... goofy coincidences and twists are something of a trademark for Cornell Woolrich). The film is clearly a shoestring budget production, but even if the performances aren't great, they are at least sincere. The "wrong man" scenario provides the usual (justified) paranoia concerning the authorities charged with protecting us, and the tight running time makes this a worthwhile picture, even if not exactly an undiscovered classic.


I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes is directed by William Nigh and adapted to screenplay by Steve Fisher from a story by Cornell Woolrich. It stars Don Castle, Elyse Knox, Regis Toomey and Charles D. Brown. Music is by Edward J. Kay and cinematography by Mack Stengler.

Hoofer Tom Quinn (Castle) is convicted of murder on circumstantial evidence. Sentenced to death row, Tom must hope his wife Ann (Knox) can find the proof of his innocence before his date with death.

Pretty routine noir exercise this one, but definitely of interest to film noir lovers looking for something they may not have seen before. In true noir fashion fate and coincidences play a huge part in the narrative drive, as does a bit of obsessive yearnings and questionable moral standing. The look is nifty, very noirish when the prison or the church is involved, or the nighttime shots in general, while there's a quirky edge to proceedings that always keeps the pic interesting. The ending is a disappointment (in true noir terms), and apart from the always reliable Toomey, the acting only just about passes muster, but it's worth a look see, even if it isn't the under seen gem some would have you believe... 6/10


Don Castle (Tom) is an out of work dancer with only 1 pair of shoes. Not only that but he throws them out of the window when some cats bother him. He goes to retrieve them but can't find them. Next morning, his wife Elyse Knox (Ann) brings them to him from outside their apartment. Someone has returned them. How nice. Not really, though. Whoever left them there has murdered someone whilst wearing them and has kindly returned them for framing purposes.

We have a flashback film with Castle on Death Row awaiting his execution. He relates his story to 4 other prisoners and the film intersperses between the prison cells, where prisoner no. 3 is in charge of the tunes, and a separate investigation to discover what actually happened courtesy of Knox.

It's an entertaining film and it has a twist. You'll probably guess but these plots are all about the moment that you realize. Mental illness is definitely on the cards in this offering.


Thanks to the ingenious William Irish/Cornell Woolrich original short story (published in 1943), this Monogram quickie is actually worth seeing. It has an excellent screenplay by Steve Fisher and topnotch direction by William Nigh. Adding to the tautly suspenseful script, cinematographer Mack Stengler has really excelled himself with fine compositions and moody lighting that gives all the movie's compositions a wonderfully rich, glossy sheen.

Ah! No wonder the movie is so good. The producer is Walter Mirisch, a man of great taste who has brought out the best in his cast, headed by Don Castle, Elyse Knox and Regis Toomey.

Another masterstroke is that Mirisch hired Otho Lovering to "supervise" the film editing. In other words, Lovering was actually on the set to supervise compositions and advise Stengler, leaving Nigh free to concentrate on the actors.

Using music by Frederick Chopin for the score was yet another ingenious way to save money and yet enhance the movie's appeal.


This was one of the stranger murder frame-ups: not by adding fake fingerprints, not by placing the fall guy at the murder spot at the right time, not even by hiding the murder weapon in his house. It was framing by shoes and shoes alone. Seriously, if you wanted to commit a murder without being discovered, you would absolutely think of stealing someone else's shoes, put them on your feet, thank god they fit, and go ahead merrily with your murderous plan, content that you're free of any trouble and that the man whose shoes you stole will surely take the fall for you.

And so, the main, obvious, explicit plot line of the movie is quite awkward, or it makes the police look like an awesomely incompetent institution. Of course that the main guy must have been framed. Or, at least, if you, Mr. Detective sir, think that he wasn't, then you should definitely arrest and convict the wife too, since she swore that he was at home at the time of the murder; therefore you, Mr. Crooked Detective sir, should find a better plan.

Fortunately, all this is of little consequence. As we find out in the end, during a rather wonderfully eerie scene, the whole movie was built almost literally around an idiomatic expression - to be or not to be in someone else's shoes.

So we have the Crooked (and frankly rather sick) Detective, Police Inspector Clint Judd, aka Santa Claus, who fell in love with a dancer, Ann. He went ahead and planned most of his future life around this love, before he even talked to her, or rather danced with her for the first time. Of course, there was a little impediment - not that the girl might not love him back, which is something totally beyond his faintest consideration, but that she is married. And to a fellow dancer, nonetheless.

So what does he do? Since he wanted to figuratively walk in her husband's shoes (Tom), he proceeds to literally walk in his shoes in order to frame him with a murder and get him out of Ann's sight. I found this narrative trick so cute that I'm willing to gloss over the above-mentioned technicalities of the set-up. Besides, they were the husband's only pair of shoes, carelessly thrown through the window to chase away a bunch of cats in heat - quite an annoying reminder of what his character would have done after turning off the light next to his beautiful young wife, had his movements and desires not been restricted by the darned Code.

And so, the Gods of the Noir take notice of this transgression. What, you're throwing away your only shoes, and your dancing shoes too? OK, let's take control over your life away from you. Then the second transgression occurs: Ann wants to keep a large sum of found money, which might well be, as Tom insists, someone's life savings. And she persuades him to go along with her plan of waiting for a week to see if anyone reclaims it in the papers. OK that seals the deal, say the Gods of the Noir, you two are doomed. And the whole fatal mechanism is set in motion, all ending up with the husband on death row.

...Except it turns out it wasn't the Gods themselves who orchestrated the whole deal, it was nothing but a mere mortal playing with idioms, using a man's shoes against himself to make them uninhabitable. There is no real talk of a destiny in this movie, it's all a mad man's game, a man who, with clean blue eyes and a beaming smile, explains to the girl of his mad dreams the length to which he had gone to stalk her, the time and work he had spent to build her a golden cage, and how happy she'd be in the life he had designed for her.

This was a surprising noir, populated by a host of characters slightly different from the usual suspects. We have indeed two poor schmucks and one femme fatale, along with a host of barely sketched characters. But the woman seduces in spite of herself, and when she does play her deadly game in earnest, she's so distressed that only a mad man could have believed her. Poor schmuck #1, Tom the husband, is absolutely passive and properly set at the hands of his fake destiny, but he's hardly the focus of the story, he works more like a motive for the true actors - the wife and poor schmuck #2. The latter would not be so poor and pitiful, after all he orchestrates the whole deal, were it not for the genuine ill love and utter remorselessness of his behavior. The detective is eerily clueless about the moral transgressions he is committing, about the morbidly obsessive nature of his love and the unforgivable nature of his deed. He is at the complete mercy of his cravings, a mere plaything in the hands of biology - or of some whimsical God taking a break from its lawful duties. Had he not been murdered, the man should have been put in a mental asylum, not in jail...

And then there are, of course, the cute little details of the Quinn household, way warmer and more personal than the norm for a noir.

Really, one thing on top of another, it turns out that this little movie is quite the buried treasure. I just wish I could find a better copy, because, as it is, I don't dare to say a thing about the visuals. But the whole thing came for sure from the wild bank of the noir river, where it dwells alongside Dassin's "Naked City", Ulmer's "Detour", Montgomery's "Ride the Pink Horse" and Daves' "Dark Passage".


By the late 1940s due to the success of "I Wake Up Screaming" Woolrich's former pulp writer friend Steve Fisher was in Hollywood writing scripts for "Lady in the Lake" and "Dead Reckoning". He was given a Monogram assignment to adapt Cornell Woolrich's "I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes". It was a huge task as Cornell's story was full of ambiguities and he had deliberately left the ending unresolved!! Woolrich worked fast, did not revise or polish and often didn't even re-read the finished piece. He also often abruptly closed the story without thinking about the fate of his characters. Fisher sought out his friend to see if they could come up with a solution that would satisfy movie goers but Cornell, whose talent was now on a downward spiral, couldn't care less about what they did to his story - he even told Steve to make up whatever ending he pleased.

Don Castle and Regis Toomey who had both starred in another Woolrich adaptation - "The Guilty" were reteamed and beautiful Elyse Knox was Ann Quin. A married couple are at the end of their rope. She works in a dance hall, he is an unemployed dancer - both are hoping that California holds their pot of gold but it is only a pipe dream. When Tom (Castle) throws his one and only pair of shoes at some fighting cats his nightmare begins!! His shoes are mysteriously returned the next morning - but there is also news of a murder, an old janitor with a secret stash of old fashioned money and who lives in the same neighbourhood. Out the back Det. Judd (Toomey) finds a shoe print and the killer is almost in the bag. The shoe is unusual - it is a dancer's shoe that has been used for regular footwear (wonder whose it can be??) and to make matters worse Tom finds a wallet packed with money of (you guessed it) the old fashioned sort!! He is all for handing it over to the police but Ann..... and of course they do things her way!!

When the police finally come calling Ann recognises Judd as being a regular at the dance hall - one who tips generously to those girls who prove sympathetic listeners. Adapted from Woolrich's moody novelette from a 1938 Detective Fiction Weekly, the ending was very different and in keeping with Woolrich's mysogynistic thoughts. This film is a gritty noir with lots of twists and turns.