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Nightmare Alley [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Tyrone Power , Joan Blondell , Edmund Goulding    DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: 5.22
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.


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Nightmare Alley [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + I Wake Up Screaming [DVD] [1941] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Actors: Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray, Helen Walker, Taylor Holmes
  • Directors: Edmund Goulding
  • Writers: Jules Furthman, William Lindsay Gresham
  • Producers: Darryl F. Zanuck, George Jessel
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: 7 Jun 2005
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007ZEO8C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,623 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


From the Contributor

Tyrone Power, cast against type — at his own insistence — gives the performance of his lifetime as handsome scumbag / carnival barker / con-man Stanton Carlisle. He seduces fellow sideshow performer Mademoiselle Zeena (Joan Blondell) to learn the secret of her once lucrative mind-reading act with her alcoholic husband (Ian Keith). Carlisle, a "born mentalist", secures the secret method and sets off with his new carnie wife, Molly (Coleen Grey) to milk the bigtime as a spiritualist in Chicago. As Carlisle's success grows, it's only a matter of time before his greed — and twisted involvement with femme fatale psychoanalyst Lilith Ritter (Helen Walker) — bring Stanton's world crashing down around him.

Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You're a perfectly normal human being" 11 July 2005
By A Customer
Tyrone Power uses his stunning looks to great effect in Nightmare Alley, a strange, rather dark film that explores the issues of providence, destiny, and fate. Excitingly gaudy, as well as unadulteratingly polished, Nightmare Alley takes us behind-the-scenes of a sleazy circus carnival, and shows us the terrible consequences that can result from the unbridled and rampant quest for power and money.
The early sequences of this film are nearly ageless in introducing the carnival world of marks and rubes, Gypsy fortune-tellers, unintelligent strongmen, and the unseen geek - a broken-down alcoholic who bites the heads off live chickens for a daily bottle of booze and a place to sleep it off. He does this while the conniving drifter Ray Stanton (Tyrone Power) looks on, plotting and scheming his next move.
Ray is a dashingly sexy carnival newcomer who desperately wants to become a fake clairvoyant and spiritualist. He works with Zeena (Joan Blondell), a mind reader, and her drunken husband Pete (Ian Keith). Zeena and her husband had once developed a priceless code that allowed them to do a first-class act in Vaudeville, but now Pete is too drunk to pull it off.
Ray is determined to get hold of the code, and one night tries to get Pete so drunk that he'll fess up with the secret. Pete eventually dies in an accident that is partly caused by Stan. With Pete now out of the way, Stan moves up to the big time, learning the code and working with Zeena. But Stan has fallen in love with Molly (Colleen Gray), the strongman Bruno's (Mike Mazurki) girlfriend. Stan and Molly run away together and get a job working as a mind reading mentalist in a ritzy Chicago nightclub.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tough-minded and tawdry: A first-rate noir 13 Jun 2007
This is the rise and fall of a smooth-talking con man, played out in a tacky carnival sideshow, a ritzy Chicago nightclub and back to freak alley. Stanton Carlisle (Tyrone Power) is a two-bit opportunist, always on the lookout for a main chance, earning his keep in a mind-reading carnival sideshow act assisting Zeena, the mind-reader (Joan Blondell) and her lush of a husband. Carlyle can talk anybody out of just about anything, whether it's the secret code to fool the rubes from Zeena, the virginity from a young girl whom he is forced to marry (Coleen Gray) or the will to close down the show from a small town sheriff.

Carlisle reaches for the big-time, makes it and almost keeps it. But as they say, he reached too far. His mind-reading act is a big hit in Chicago, but the spook racket -- spiritualism -- looks even richer. From fooling the rubes its only a small step to stretching the law...and then stepping over the line. He hooks up with a classy psychologist, Lilith Ritter (Helen Walker), who turns out to be just as corrupt as he is. When the law comes looking, he finds out she is harder, more ruthless and just as willing to manipulate things as he fancied he was. He winds up just another carney drunk, grateful for a bottle and the worst job in the place.

When he was talking late one night with Pete Krumbein, Zeena's husband, before he made his big play for success, they watched the carnival's geek go crazy, running and screaming across the empty midway. "I remember that fella when he first showed up here," Pete says. "Who was he?" Carlisle asks. "He used to be plenty big-time." "Mental act?" "What difference does it make? He's cold smoked meat now. Just a bottle-a-day rumdum. He thinks his job's heaven as long as he has his bottle a day and a dry place to sleep it off in.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is the story of an orphaned youth, played by Power, who is determined to make it even though he has nothing. Working in a cheap road show, he charms his colleagues, seduces someone who can teach him a special trick, and puts together an act that will bring him into the big time. But he is haunted by the geek, an alcoholic who is hired to bite the heads off of chickens and lizards. There is another alcoholic, the companion of the woman teaching him, who also concerns him. FOr a long time, his career works, allowing him to enter the top tier of New York society. He married a beautiful girl from the carny, who performs perfectly as his assistant and they are deeply in love. Of course, things don't work out.

This is so good that it is like a psychological drama. In a way, I hesitate to call it a film noir, but that is the category it is in. I warmly recommend this film. It is of superior quality.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Ain't No Geek Dad. 14 Jan 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Few films have had such a powerful effect on me, than when I first watched this film on TV many years ago. It was treacly dark and scary. My Father, who had a cruel streak at times, even warned me that if I misbehaved I would end up as "The Geek". Thanks Dad! The meaning of this word is very different to today's generation. The Geek was originally a performer who opened travelling freak shows in early America, which often involved him running around the ring after live chickens, and culminating in him biting the head off of one. Charming! Be warned that the Geek features very prominently in this film. He is the metaphor for just how low life can stoop for some.

The film concerns an unscrupulous con man, who will stop at nothing to gain success. Lying and cheating his way to the top, he uses people for his own purposes without any qualms. He reaches the top as "The Great Stanton", a very well informed clairvoyant, who even has the ambition to play God. But as so many find to their cost, when you get to the very top, there is only one way to go. The impossibly handsome Tyrone Power plays the lead role which he had to fight hard to get. Coming back from war service he decided it was time for a change of image, which until then had consisted very successfully of romantic swashbuckling roles. Obviously not a stupid person he managed to purchase the film rights for the 1946 novel of the same title written by William Lindsay Gresham, with the hope of playing the main role himself, but Darryl F Zanuck was against the idea thinking it might damage Power's image, and more to the point his bankability. Zanuck was no fool either! Persistence eventually won the day for Power and Zanuck relented, even giving him an 'A' film budget.
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