Skip to content

I Walk Alone (1947)

In the five films they actually starred in together not counting a couple cameo bits in another pair, Burt Lancaster always had billing over Kirk Douglas and in all likelihood that stems from their first teaming in I Walk Alone. It’s Lancaster’s film and he’s top billed while Kirk scores fourth billing though in my mind he’s clearly the second largest character in the film and deserving of above the title billing next to Burt. But this was 1947 and Burt had hit a homerun with 46’s The Killers and Kirk wouldn’t attain true stardom until 1949’s Champion. So for this 1947 Byron Haskin effort from producer Hal Wallis, Lizabeth Scott takes her place next to Burt above the title and the familiar Wendell Corey slides into third just above the soon to be cleft chin icon.

It’s a fast moving tale that plays out rapidly over the course of a day or two of screen time. Corey meets Burt at a train station as he arrives in town. He’s just done a 14 year stretch. The reason as we’ll see in a flashback later on is that he’s a stand up guy. He took the rap on a run of bootleg whiskey that led to men being killed in a car trailing them. His partner who got away was Kirk. Before splitting up they swear that no matter what happens it’s 50/50 right down the line.

So here we are in the present and Kirk didn’t exactly stay in touch while Burt did the hard time. Burt’s got a major chip on his shoulder and has come to collect his 50% of everything Kirk has built for himself in the ensuing years. Kirk has entered high society running a swank nightclub that employs Liz as the featured entertainer while she does double duty entertaining Kirk in the bedroom. Kirk is playing it slippery here and wants no part of Burt who represents his past.

When these two meet for the first time on camera it’s as if we’re watching two baseball pitchers playing catch. They’re throwing words and lines at each other with finesse and determination, catching and releasing another volley right back at the other. It’s one of those pivotal movie moments when you stop and wonder what took them so damn long to wait ten years to do it all over again in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. While Kirk strings Burt along using Liz as a tool to calm the quick tempered Burt down, it doesn’t work and Lancaster swears vengeance if he doesn’t get what’s coming to him.

He will. That is when Kirk calls in his chief goon Mike Mazurki and a couple other hoods who lay a beating on Burt and dump him in the alley. This all but ends Kirk’s romance with Liz who rushes to Burt’s aide as does Corey who is disgusted with himself for signing on with Kirk years ago and all but squeezing Burt out of the picture with some fancy bookkeeping. Kirk’s world is going to come crashing down just as he feared but before we reach that point there’ll be murder and vengeance in the air.

Thankfully this black and white Noir has turned up on blu ray from Kino Lorber who have put out a number of Noirs coupled with both Burt and Kirk singular titles. Aside from the obvious teaming of the movie legends there is much to recommend in this Wallis production released through Paramount. For the Liz Scott fans she looks gorgeous in Edith Head gowns belting out “Don’t Call It Love” for the patrons at Kirks’ Regent Club. Liz had previously appeared with Kirk in his 1946 debut The Strange Love of Martha Ivers and for 1947 appeared in three films alongside Burt. Other than I Walk Alone they both took cameos in the star studded Variety Girl and starred in another Noir titled Desert Fury that also featured Corey.

Aside from meeting ten years later in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Burt and Kirk would star together in The Devil’s Disciple, Seven Days In May and Tough Guys. Burt would turn up in a cameo gag in the Douglas film The List of Adrian Messenger and the pair would appear in a star studded affair for TV, Victory at Entebbe. They’d also play on stage together in 1981 bringing us all up to date with adult versions of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Now that’s a show I would have travelled a great distance to experience had I been a bit older.

Anyone who checks in here for repeat visits knows that I’m a huge fan of both of these men who filled my childhood movies with plenty of adventures and heroic fantasies. When Tough Guys came to theaters in 1986, I was there opening night. Have a look at some of the other films and articles I’ve featured them in here at Mike’s Take.  Burt LancasterKirk Douglas.

They also did a great song and dance routine two years running on the Oscar shows for 1958 and 1959. Feast your eyes and be sure to catch a Burt and Kirk movie soon.

11 Comments »

  1. I got the new release of the movie but I’ve still not watched it, been saving it up for later in the year. I’m also a big fan of both these guys and enjoy watching them work together and alone.
    This movie was one of those Paramount titles that were hard tor indeed almost impossible o locate for a long time and gradually have become available, and in great condition too.

  2. Love that video. Haven’t seen it before.
    Haven’t seen the film in an age. Don’t recall being too impressed. Sometimes a second viewing can be the charm.

    • I’ve always been under the impression that Burt was more important to Kirk than the other way around. They knew they complimented each other on screen and no secret had big egos in their prime. I think where Burt succeeded, Kirk would follow right along. They were very much alike and many of their roles could easily have been swapped either way.

    • Glad you watched them cause I think it just shows how talented these guys were. And of course if you’re a fan of them it presents a wonderful opportunity to see them do something as a pair besides the movie roles that parodies their personas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

Ruth's Old Movie Reviews

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

movies galore

%d bloggers like this: