The Man Who Wouldn't Talk (1940 film)

The Man Who Wouldn't Talk is a 1940 mystery film directed by David Burton and starring Lloyd Nolan, Jean Rogers, and Richard Clarke. It is a remake of the 1929 film The Valiant which had starred Paul Muni,[1] and was based on a play of the same name. It was Nolan's first film for Twentieth Century Fox, where he went on to be a successful star of B Movie mysteries such as the Michael Shayne series. Nolan's portrayal of the lead character was deliberately more subdued than Muni's had been, and the film was "opened up" with the addition of flashback scenes and other devices to make it less dialogue-based than the original.

The Man Who Wouldn't Talk
Directed byDavid Burton
Produced bySol M. Wurtzel
Written byClark Andrews
Lou Breslow
David Burton
Robert Ellis
Edward Ettinger
Owen Francis
Holworthy Hall
Helen Logan
Robert Middlemass
Lester Ziffren
Starring Lloyd Nolan
Jean Rogers
Richard Clarke
Music bySamuel Kaylin
CinematographyVirgil Miller
Edited byAlex Troffey
Distributed byTwentieth Century Fox
Release date
January 23, 1940
Running time
74 minutes
CountryUnited States


A man shoots dead a business leader and confesses to the killing, but refuses to say anything more than providing the name Joe Monday, which is obviously an alias. His attorney joins forces with a woman claiming that she is his sister and that he is really a soldier reported missing during World War I. Still, the accused refuses to offer further information. He is tried for murder, with the case seemingly hanging on events from over twenty years earlier when the dead man and the accused had served in the same infantry company in France.

Main cast


  1. Schlossheimer, p. 305


  • Schlossheimer, Michael. Gunmen and Gangsters: Profiles of Nine Actors Who Portrayed Memorable Screen Tough Guys. McFarland, 2001.
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