A Bullet for Joey

A Bullet for Joey is a 1955 film noir directed by Lewis Allen and starring Edward G. Robinson and George Raft.| [2] The picture involves a gangster who sneaks into Canada to kidnap a scientist for the communists. The supporting cast features Audrey Totter,[1][3][4] Peter Van Eyck,[1][3] George Dolenz,[1][3][4] and Peter Hansen.[3]

A Bullet for Joey
Theatrical Poster
Directed byLewis Allen
Produced bySamuel Bischoff
David Diamond
Written by"Geoffry Homes" (Daniel Mainwaring
A.I. Bezzerides
Based onstory by James Benson Nablo
StarringEdward G. Robinson
George Raft
Audrey Totter
Music byHarry Sukman
CinematographyHarry Neumann
Edited byLeon Barsha
Bischoff-Diamond Corporation
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • April 15, 1955 (1955-04-15) (United States)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States


Communist agents in Canada are spying on Dr. Carl Macklin, an atomic physicist whose knowledge they want. To kidnap him, Eric Hartman, the party's top man in Montreal, offers $100,000 to a deported American criminal, Joe Victor.

Joe's former flame, Joyce Geary, is blackmailed into helping with the plan. Police Inspector Leduc of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigates and ends up caring for Joyce, as she does for him.

A thug working for Victor kills the scientist's secretary after using her to gain information. Leduc is taken prisoner aboard a ship as Hartman and Victor attempt to take Dr. Macklin with them to Europe.

A plea is made by Leduc to the gangster Victor, who misses his native America, to do the right thing for a change and help stop the Communists. A shootout ensues between Victor and Hartman, who end up killing one another, but Joyce's innocence is proven to the satisfaction of Leduc and the law.



The film was originally entitled Canada's Great Manhunt.[5] It was inspired by a magazine article by Stephen Brott. This was turned into a story by James Benson Nablo which was optioned by Sam Bischoff, who had owned a production company with George Raft in the late 1940s, and David Diamond. Geoffrey Holmes wrote the script and George Raft and Edward G Robinson were signed to play the leads. Gloria Grahame was sought to play the female lead.[6] Robinson and Raft had starred in a previous film together 14 years earlier, Raoul Walsh's Manpower with Marlene Dietrich.

Filming started 10 December 1954. Robinson was greylisted at the time. He paid Bezzerides $5,000 for polish Robinson's dialogue. When Raft found out about this, Raft paid the writer to perform the same function for him.[7]


A Bullet for Joey was released in theatres in New York City on April 15, 1955.[8] The film was released in London at the Exhibitors' Trade Show on April 7, 1955, and in Australia on March 16, 1956.[1] A Bullet for Joey was released on Blu-ray in November 2015,[9] and DVD[10] by Kino Lorber Studio Classics on July 10, 2007, and November 17, 2015.


Critical Response

The Los Angeles Times called the film "moderately exciting".[11]

In his book, Film Noir, Detective and Mystery Movies on DVD, John Howard Reid considered the movie dull. Slow pace, one-dimensional characters, and an unconvincing climax plague the film.[1][12]

Film critic Bosley Crowther wrote in his review: "AGE cannot wither nor custom stale the infinite uniformity of Edward G. Robinson and George Raft. In A Bullet for Joey, a crime drama that came to the Palace yesterday, along with the vaudeville program, Mr. Raft solemnly appears as an outcast American gangster called back into service to do a job of kidnapping a key atomic scientist out of Canada for a "foreign power." And Mr. Robinson plays a cool inspector of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who is assigned to uncover the suspected connivance and nip it in the bud. Considerately, we need not scan the details of Mr. Raft's laying out the job and Mr. Robinson's patient checking on him every step of the way. These are things that Mr. Raft and Mr. Robinson can act with their eyes shut—and sometimes do. (We suspect, in this instance, that the director, Lewis Allen, had his eyes shut, too.)"[8]

Box office

The film was a box office flop.[13]

See also


  1. Reid, John Howard (2009). Mystery, Suspense, Film Noir and Detective Movies on DVD: A Guide to the Best in Cinema Thrills. Raleigh, North Carolina: Lulu Books. ISBN 978-0557122233.
  2. "A Bullet for Joey". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  3. Aaker 2013, p. 162.
  4. Beck 2008, p. 62.
  5. FILM EVENTS: Actor From Spain Gets Lead RoleLos Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]25 Feb 1955: 23.
  6. ROBINSON TO STAR WITH RAFT IN FILM: Head Cast in 'Canada's Great Manhunt,' Melodrama About Atomic Bomb Spy Plot By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]11 Sep 1954: 11.
  7. Aaker p 164
  8. Crowther, Bosley (April 16, 1955). "Screen: But at the End . . .; 'Bullet for Joey' Saves Key Atomic Scientist". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  9. "Kino Lorber Studio Classics". Classic Images. January 2016. p. 36.
  10. A Bullet for Joey (Blu-ray). Kino Lorber Studio Classics. July 10, 2007. ASIN B014K3642A. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  11. EVIEW OF REVIEWS: 'A BULLET FOR JOEY' Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]14 Aug 1955: d4
  12. Reid 2009, p. 15.
  13. Aaker 2013, p. 164.


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