Guilty Bystander



Guilty Bystander is a 1950 American film noir directed by Joseph Lerner, and starring Zachary Scott and Faye Emerson. The film marked the last screen appearances for character actors Mary Boland and J. Edward Bromberg.<>.</><>.</><>.</>


Max Thursday is an alcoholic ex-cop. The only job he can find is as a house detective at his pal Smitty's hotel.
Ex-wife Georgia comes to him in a panic. Their son Jeff is missing and so is her brother Fred. She didn't go to the police after being warned not to by Dr. Elder, a business acquaintance of Fred's.
The drunken Max tries to confront Dr. Elder, but is knocked cold. He wakes up in jail to learn that Elder has been killed and he, Max, is the prime suspect. Georgia gives him an alibi, though, so Max is let out.
Now sober, Max learns that the doctor was involved in a diamond smuggling operation with Varkas, a known criminal. He learns from Varkas' helpful moll, Angel, that the gangster's men are holding Fred hostage.
Max is shot by Varkas' thugs. When he recovers, Varkas is dead, and Max finally realizes that it's his old friend Smitty who's behind the whole scheme. Jeff and Fred and rescued and a grateful Georgia welcomes them and Max back.


  • Zachary Scott as Max Thursday
  • Faye Emerson as Georgia
  • Mary Boland as Smitty
  • Sam Levene as Captain Tonetti
  • J. Edward Bromberg as Varkas
  • Kay Medford as Angel
  • Jed Prouty as Dr. Elder
  • Harry Landers as Bert
  • Dennis Patrick as Mace
  • Elliott Sullivan as Stitch
  • Garney Wilson as Harvey
  • Ray Julian as Johnny


=Critical response=

Film critic Bosley Crowther, writing for The New York Times, calls Guilty Bystander's plot as average but notes "... the slow, sultry, steaming sadism that is usually standard in this type of film is rather effectively accomplished. The photography is full of heavy moods. And some of the melodramatic action, such as a chase in the subway, is good."

Category:1950 films
Category:1950s drama films
Category:American crime films
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:English-language films
Category:Film noir
Category:Films based on novels

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