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Street of Chance (1942 film)

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Street of Chance
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJack Hively
Screenplay byGarrett Fort
Based onCornell Woolrich
Produced bySol C. Siegel
StarringBurgess Meredith
Claire Trevor
CinematographyTheodor Sparkuhl
Edited byArthur P. Schmidt
Music byDavid Buttolph
Paramount Pictures
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 3, 1942 (1942-10-03) (United States)
Running time
74 minutes
CountryUnited States

Street of Chance is a 1942 film noir directed by Jack Hively and starring Burgess Meredith as a man who finds he's been suffering from amnesia and Claire Trevor as a woman who protects him from the police, who suspect him of murder.

The story was based on Cornell Woolrich's novel The Black Curtain. It was later dramatized three times on the CBS Radio series Suspense.


Frank Thompson awakens in the middle of the street after wreckage falling from a building in New York City hits him on the head. Frank soon discovers that his apartment has been rented out for a year and his wife Virginia has been living on her own elsewhere.

Frank confronts Virginia, who is shocked to see the husband who disappeared without explanation a year earlier. As Frank slowly pieces together his old life, it turns out he is known by another name and running from a murder he cannot remember committing. Joe Marucci, a detective, is shadowing his every move.

Looking for answers in the neighborhood where he awoke on the street, Frank meets Ruth Dillon who knows him only as "Danny". Ruth takes Frank/Danny to the mansion of the wealthy Diedrich family, where she has been employed as a servant. Family matriarch Grandma Diedrich was an eyewitness to the murder of son Harry, the one Frank/Danny is suspected of killing, but she is a housebound invalid who also is mute. Through sign language, Frank/Danny learns from her that Ruth is the killer, Harry having caught her stealing. Frank/Danny's life is in danger until Marucci arrives and catches the culprit.



Film critic Dennis Schwartz liked the film and wrote, "Jack Hively efficiently directs an early film noir that establishes a number of conventions that helped define noir ... Though the murderer was too obvious by the halfway point, the film still had many disturbing moments that kept me interested."[1]


  1. ^ Schwartz, Dennids, film review, Ozus' World Movie Reviews, December 15, 2003. Accessed: July 6, 2013.

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