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Episode 162: Nightmare Alley (1947)

maverickEpisode 162: The first in our pairings focusing on the meanings of the word "Geek," as suggested by listener Bill Mukalian, we head back to 1947 and Tyrone Power's attempt to break out of his romance/adventure leading-man status in the film noir classic "Nightmare Alley!" Directed by Edmund Goulding and co-starring Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray, Helen Walker, Taylor Holmes, Mike Mazurki, and Ian Keith, this is the story of circus pitch-man turned big-time mentalist (i.e. con-man) Stantaon 'Stan' Carlisle as he discoveres what he thinks is a road to riches, only to reach too high and fall spectacularly! This is a film noir, however, so it's full of twists and turns, a truly sinister femme fatale, and a twist near the end that has viewers and critics split on what actually happens in the film! Although not a hit when it came out (because audience's weren't ready to see Tyrone Power as a bad guy), it has since become a staple of the film noir genre!

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