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NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947, USA) Movie review, plot, trailer

Nightmare Alley 1947 Trailer HD | Tyrone Power | Joan Blondell

It wasn’t until I started watching this old-fashioned mysterious noir that something started ringing to me. It was a few weeks before Guillermo Del Toro’s film of the same name appeared in cinemas, which “Nightmare Alley” was also based on William Lindsey Gersham’s 1946 novel of the same name. This novel, just like the film made by Edmund Goulding a year later, is an interesting study of the hemisphere of show business at the time. From the beginnings of ordinary provincial fairs or carnivals from the bottom of which the ambitious assistant worker in the circus Stanton Carlisle (Tyrone Power) will start to the light of the big stages to which this unscrupulous manipulator will break through various schemes, frauds and lies.
Power is actually the most deserving of why “Nightmare Alley” was screened so quickly. He was one of the biggest Hollywood stars of the thirties and forties, and he became famous mainly in performances in spectacles as a romantic hero. Apparently he was fed up with that Typecasting, so he asked 20th Century Fox studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck to buy the rights to the book so he could play the main character. A pretending magician ready to step over corpses to achieve his goals. His Stanton is initially an auxiliary worker in the circus who, thanks to his charm, manipulations and lies, will experience incredible rise and fame. But at the same time, he will be completely morally degraded and a sick ambition for wealth and fame will cost him dearly, and a bit in the Gatsby style, it is clear that all this will fall apart very quickly.
As is usually the case, this Miracle Worker will come across someone smarter and even more frivolous than him. This dark, rather shocking noir for that period is characterized by a completely atypical atmosphere for that period, and American critics today consider “Nightmare Alley” one of the defining films of the genre. It is a bit of a story on the ancient trail of fatalism, because Stanton is one of those almost Icarian types who imagined that he could do anything, and we know that such decisions can usually be expensive. Although the ending of the novel is even darker and more shocking than what we will see in this film and by that “Nightmare Alley” represents a certain departure from the then standard Hollywood studio film that usually required a classic Happy End.