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19 user 2 critic

Key Witness (1960)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 6 October 1960 (USA)
In Los Angeles, a brave witness to murder agrees to testify in court against the street gang leader who's desperate to silence him.

Director:

Phil Karlson

Writers:

Alfred Brenner (screenplay), Sidney Michaels (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jeffrey Hunter ... Fred Morrow
Pat Crowley ... Ann Morrow
Dennis Hopper ... William 'Cowboy' Tomkins
Joby Baker ... Muggles
Susan Harrison ... Ruby
Johnny Nash ... Apple
Corey Allen ... Magician
Frank Silvera ... Det. Rafael Torno
Bruce Gordon ... Arthur Robbins
Terry Burnham Terry Burnham ... Gloria Morrow
Dennis Holmes ... Phil Morrow
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hilda Haynes Hilda Haynes ... Apple's Mother (unconfirmed)
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Storyline

An average Los Angeles citizen witnesses a gang murder when he stops to use a telephone. Aware that he is the only witness against them, the gang members seek out his identity and terrorize him and his family to keep him from testifying against them. Only by psychologically playing one gang member against the others is the man able to bring the police to his rescue. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Violence... vengeance in the big city! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 October 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Wölfe von Los Angeles See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$857,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$360,000, 31 December 1960

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$810,000, 31 December 1960
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Avon Productions (II) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is often considered to be the first neo-noir. See more »

Quotes

Muggles: Hello temptress.
Ruby: Temptress? You read that in a comic book.
See more »

Soundtracks

Leatherjacket Cowboy
(uncredited)
Written by Charles Wolcott
Performed by Charles Wolcott conducting the MGM Studio Orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

 
MGM Takes A Walk On the Wild Side, Circa 1960
15 December 2014 | by reprtrSee all my reviews

KEY WITNESS, based on Frank Kane's novel of the same name, is sort of the successor to MGM's 1955 BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, but with more acting flourishes (mostly by the supporting cast) and realistic settings. By 1960, delinquency and gang violence were recognized as an unpleasant reality outside of "old" urban centers such as New York -- but also not always (or often) involving such well-scrubbed suburbanites as those depicted in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. Though its script stumbles in some notable places (a few involving basic logic -- except that this was a new world for many of the people who would have been watching in 1960), KEY WITNESS is a good depiction of the law abiding running up against the sociopathic lawless, with horrendous consequences for all concerned. The movie also plays, in somewhat naive fashion, on a racial angle in its plot and characterizations -- this is an odd touch, considering that the entire gang in Kane's book, if memory serves, was African-American. (Additionally, the book is more violent and also a lot more raunchy in terms of the Ruby character, who alludes to the idea of explaining her assault on the witness's wife because of a (rejected) lesbian overture in a courthouse ladies' room). The movie ends a little too squeaky clean and optimistically, not that differently from THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, but is more harrowing along the way. Along with releases such as THE SUBTERRANEANS, which was done around the same time, it was all a really interesting venture by MGM into territory far from its roots in high art and Americana, and an admission that the 1940s were long-gone. And anyone who likes the movie should check out the novel.


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