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Johnny Stool Pigeon (Universal 1949, Howard Duff, Dan Duryea)



In this sharp film noir, a government narcotics agent (Howard Duff) springs a convict (Dan Duryea) he once sent to prison so the convict can help him infiltrate a heroin smuggling ring. The trail leads through San Francisco, Vancouver, Tucson and Mexico before the final showdown back in Tucson. Along the way the pair has to eliminate one of the gang members (Tony Curtis) who recognizes the agent, but they get a crucial assist from the gang leader’s girl (Shelley Winters) after she falls for the handsome narcotics agent and decides to go straight.

Johnny Stool Pigeon was Curtis’s first major role, even though he doesn’t speak throughout the entire film.

production details
USA | Universal | 76 minutes | 1949

Director: William Castle
Producer: Aaron Rosenberg
Original Story: Henry Jordan
Cinematography: Maury Gertsman
Editor: Ted J. Kent
Music: Milton Schwarzwald
Script: Robert L. Richards
Special Effects: David S. Horsley

Shelley Winters as Terry Stewart
Tony Curtis as Joey Hyatt (as Anthony Curtis)
Leif Erickson as Pringle
Joe Turkel as Bellboy (uncredited)
Howard Duff as George Morton
Dan Duryea as Johnny Evans
John McIntire as Nick Avery
Gar Moore as Sam Harrison
Barry Kelley as William McCandles
Hugh Reilly as Charlie
Wally Maher as T.H. Benson