Release dateMay 26, 1948 (1948-05-26) (United States) WriterLeopold Atlas, John C. Higgins, Arnold B. Armstrong (suggested by a story by), Audrey Ashley (suggested by a story by) ScreenplayJohn C. Higgins, Leopold Atlas, Audrey Ashley, Arnold B. Armstrong CastDennis O'Keefe (Joseph Emmett (Joe) Sullivan), Claire Trevor (Pat Cameron), Marsha Hunt (Ann Martin), John Ireland (Fantail), Raymond Burr (Rick Coyle), Curt Conway (Spider) Similar moviesMad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, White Heat, John Wick, Salt, Furious 7
TaglineBullets! Women! Can't Hold a Man Like That!
Raw Deal is a 1948 American film noir crime film directed by Anthony Mann and shot by cinematographer John Alton.
Prison convict Joe Sullivan (Dennis O'Keefe) has "taken the fall" for an unspecified $50,000 crime but breaks out of jail with the help of his girl Pat (Claire Trevor). Neither is aware that the escape has been facilitated by their former accomplice Rick Coyle (Raymond Burr), a sadistic mobster, who has arranged for Joe to be killed in order to avoid paying Joe his share of the $50,000 take. When the break-out succeeds, Rick decides that he must have Joe killed some other way.
Pat and Joe kidnap a social worker, Ann (Marsha Hunt), who has been visiting Joe in prison, trying to reform him. This begins a doomed love triangle. A fight with one of Rick's henchmen (John Ireland) ends when Ann shoots Joe's attacker in the back. After acting in Joe's defense, Ann realizes she is in love with him. Relenting, Joe sets her free and prepares to flee the country with Pat. In their hotel room, Pat receives a phone call warning them that Rick has seized Ann and will harm her unless Joe and Pat come out of hiding. Pat lies to Joe that it was a call from the hotel desk clerk since she does not want him to go back to Ann.
After boarding a ship, Joe attempts to convince Pat that they can start a new life in South America together. He even proposes marriage to her. A guilt-stricken Pat now confesses to Joe that Ann has been abducted by Rick. Joe races to save Ann from her captor. Under the cover of a thick fog, Joe manages to get past Rick's henchmen and sneaks into Rick's room. A gunfight erupts with Rick and Joe shooting each other and inadvertently starting a fire. Joe and Rick, both wounded, fight hand-to-hand with Joe finally pushing Rick through an upper story window to his death. Mortally wounded and lying in the street, Joe dies in Ann's arms as Pat looks on. Seeing the resigned contentment in Joe's face, Pat comments in voice-over that: "This is right for Joe. This is what he wanted."
Dennis O'Keefe as Joseph Emmett (Joe) Sullivan
Claire Trevor as Pat Cameron
Marsha Hunt as Ann Martin
John Ireland as Fantail
Raymond Burr as Rick Coyle
Curt Conway as Spider
Chili Williams as Marrcy
Regis Toomey as Police Capt. Fields
Whit Bissell as Murderer
Cliff Clark as Gates
The film was a success at the box office and was profitable.
When the film was released, New York Times critic Bosley Crowther panned it. "But this, of course, is a movie—and a pretty low-grade one, at that—in which sensations of fright and excitement are more diligently pursued than common sense...Except for the usual moral—to wit, that crime does not pay—the only thing proved by this picture is that you shouldn't switch sweethearts in mid-lam."
In Girl and a Gun: The Complete Guide to Film Noir, David N. Meyer wrote: "It's the richest cinematography in noir outside of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane."
In popular culture
The title characters in Harlan Ellison's 1969 post-apocalyptic novella A Boy and His Dog watch Raw Deal, which is said to be 86 years old (setting the Ellison story in the year 2034), in an open-air theater.