The Sun Sets at Dawn

The Sun Sets at Dawn is a 1950 American film noir crime film directed by Paul Sloane and starring Sally Parr, Patrick Waltz and Philip Shawn.[1]

The Sun Sets at Dawn
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Sloane
Produced byHelen H. Rathvon
Paul Sloane
Screenplay byPaul Sloane
StarringSally Parr
Walter Reed
Music byLeith Stevens
CinematographyLionel Lindon
Edited bySherman Todd
Holiday Films
Distributed byEagle-Lion Films
Release date
  • November 1, 1950 (1950-11-01) (United States)
Running time
71 minutes
CountryUnited States


A young man sits in prison on the night before his execution, while his girlfriend waits for the inevitable in the prison governor's house. The warden and his wife sympathize with both of them. It is the first use of the electric chair in the state, and there are teething problems with its installation. Meanwhile, a group of reporters discussing the case, realize that the M.O. of the crime bears a similar style to that of a criminal, "Parrot" Farucco, who was supposed to have died three years previously. As the execution takes place off camera, a prison orderly collecting mail in the cafe identifies a customer as Farucco. He confronts him and is shot by the criminal, who is subdued and tied by other customers who happen to be prison officers waiting to begin work.

At the same time the reporters rush in, back from the prison to use the Post Office telephones. It turns out that the execution has had to be postponed owing to electrical problems with the chair. Farucco is brought into custody into the prison governor's office, and moved by the distraught girlfriend's grief, admits to the crime just in time to prevent the second execution attempt.



Film critic Dennis Schwartz wrote a mostly positive film review, "The story was well told, but the acting left a lot to be desired. And all that religious stuff thrown in, about how God listens to you, was strictly cornball. But as far as B-films go, this one is above average."[2]

Film historian and critic Hal Erickson discussed the film's major theme. He wrote, "The Sun Sets at Dawn is a crime melodrama with strong religious overtones ... dozens of reporters gather around as The Boy tells his sad life story. While this is going on, the person who should be electrocuted is exposed, and it is suggested that a Divine force has brought about this last-minute miracle ... [and] the characters have no names; this, evidently, is meant to be symbolic."[3]

See also


  1. The Sun Sets at Dawn at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  2. Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, June 6, 2001. Accessed: August 18, 2013.
  3. Erickson, Hal. Allmovie by Rovi, film/DVD review, no date. Accessed: August 18, 2013.
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