I Walk Alone is a 1947 film noir directed by Byron Haskin, his directorial debut, and starring Burt Lancaster, Lizabeth Scott, and Kirk Douglas.
This was the first of several films that Lancaster and Douglas made together over the decades, including Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Devil's Disciple (1959), Seven Days in May (1964), and Tough Guys (1986), establishing the pair as a team. Douglas was always billed under Lancaster but, with the exception of I Walk Alone, their roles were of equal importance.
Frankie Madison (Burt Lancaster) and Noll "Dink" Turner (Kirk Douglas) are rum-running partners during Prohibition. They get into a shootout with some would-be hijackers after their liquor, attracting the attention of the police. The two men split up, but not before making a bargain that if one is caught, he will still get an equal share when he gets out of jail. Frankie is sent to prison for 14 years. When he is finally set free, he goes to see Noll.
In the interim, Noll has built up a swanky nightclub. When the impatient Frankie shows up there, Noll stalls, sending him to dinner with his singer girlfriend Kay Lawrence (Lizabeth Scott). Noll instructs Kay to find out what Frankie is after. He learns that Frankie expects him to honor their old bargain. He tells his old partner that the deal only applied to their old nightclub, which shut down years ago. Dave (Wendell Corey), the only member of the old gang Frankie trusted, had him sign legal papers to that effect some time ago. Frankie's share by Noll's reckoning is less than $3000. Furious, Frankie slugs Noll and leaves to recruit men to take what he figures he is owed. However, Noll had Dave tie up ownership of the nightclub between several corporations, with bylaws that make it impossible for him to hand over anything. Furthermore, the men supposedly backing Frankie actually work for Noll. Frankie is beaten up and left in the alley.
Meanwhile, Noll informs Kay that he intends to marry wealthy socialite Alexis Richardson (Kristine Miller), explaining that he is doing so to ensure the success of the nightclub with which he has become increasingly obsessed. He sees no reason they cannot continue their relationship. Repulsed by the idea and strongly attracted to Frankie, Kay quits and, overcoming Frankie's suspicions, joins his side.
Dave, aghast at how Frankie has been treated, tells him that he is willing to pass along what he knows, which is enough to bring Noll down. However, he foolishly tells Noll what he intends to do, and is killed by Noll's henchman. The murder is pinned on Frankie.
Evading a police manhunt, Frankie and Kay go to Noll's mansion. Though Noll is waiting with a loaded gun, Frankie manages to take it away from him. The three drive to the nightclub. By threatening Noll, Frankie extracts a written confession from him, which he gives to the police when they show up. Noll is taken away, but gets free and goes gunning for Frankie. He is shot dead by a policeman.Burt Lancaster as Frankie Madison
Lizabeth Scott as Kay Lawrence
Wendell Corey as Dave
Kirk Douglas as Noll "Dink" Turner
Kristine Miller as Mrs. Alexis Richardson
George Rigaud as Maurice
Marc Lawrence as Nick Palestro
Mike Mazurki as Dan, the nightclub doorman
Mickey Knox as Skinner
Roger Neury as Felix Walter
Freddie Steele as Tiger Rose
Bosley Crowther, film critic for the New York Times, gave the film a negative review, also pointing out that the film may have violated the Motion Picture Production Code. He wrote, "It is notable that the slant of sympathy is very strong toward the mug who did the "stretch," as though he were some kind of martyr. Nice thing! Producer Hal Wallis should read the Code.
The film today is regarded as a classic, usually due to the film's cast.
A portion of I Walk Alone was used in 1982's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid in which footage of Kirk Douglas is edited as if his character was speaking to Steve Martin's character of Rigby Reardon.