Alias Nick Beal

Alias Nick Beal is a 1949 film noir mystery film retelling of the Faust myth[1] directed by John Farrow and starring Ray Milland, Audrey Totter and Thomas Mitchell (although third-billed, Mitchell plays the leading role). The picture is also known as Dark Circle, Strange Temptation and Alias Nicky Beal.

Alias Nick Beal
Directed byJohn Farrow
Produced byEndre Bohem
Written byJonathan Latimer
Mindret Lord
StarringRay Milland
Audrey Totter
Thomas Mitchell
George Macready
Music byFranz Waxman
CinematographyLionel Lindon
Edited byEda Warren
Paramount Pictures
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • March 4, 1949 (1949-03-04)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States


Joseph Foster (Thomas Mitchell) an honest district attorney wants to run for governor in order to clean up the criminal underworld but can't catch their leader Frankie Faulkner (Fred Clark) no matter how hard he tries. One day a smooth talking stranger named Nick Beal (Ray Milland) visits him at a café beside the docks and he makes a deal with him. Joseph begins his rise to power in the company of prostitute Donna Allen (Audrey Totter) who is sent by Nick to seduce him. But he gets out of his contract with the help of his loving wife Martha, (Geraldine Wall) and his friend Reverend Thomas Garfield (George Macready).


Critical reaction

A 1949 review of the film in The New York Times notes that, "Due to the fine acting and the wily direction, the story plays exceptionally well, but the script tends to be somewhat wobbly and indecisive upon reflection."[2] Film4 commented on the leading man's performance, "Milland is outstanding as the personification of evil—a talent often obscured by his charm and early juvenile good looks."[3]


A 35mm print recently struck from a studio vault print was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art on November 2, 2013. For a time, as of that date, the film could not be shown on television or released as a DVD due to legal complications and could only be seen during individual theatrical exhibitions of that print. Turner Classic Movies aired the film as part of its 2017 Summer Under The Stars tribute to Ray Milland.

See also


  1. Hedges, Ines (2009). Framing Faust: Twentieth-Century Cultural Struggles. SIU Press. p. 159-160. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  2. "Movie Review - Morality Drama at the Paramount -". Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  3. "Alias Nick Beal Review". Film4.
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