The Clay Pigeon


1h 3m 1949
The Clay Pigeon

Brief Synopsis

A man awakens from a coma to discover he's accused of treason.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Thriller
War
Release Date
Mar 1949
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,655ft

Synopsis

At the Long Beach Naval Hospital, Seaman First Class Jim Fletcher finally wakes from a coma, two years after he was injured in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Jim remembers only his name and is disturbed to hear that he has been accused of murderous treason and is scheduled to face a court-martial. That night, the still groggy Jim sneaks out of the hospital and heads for San Diego. News of Jim's escape reaches the U.S. Navy Zone Intelligence Office in Los Angeles, which issues an all-points bulletin for his capture. In San Diego, Jim contacts Martha Gregory, the wife of his best friend Mark, with whom he was imprisoned in the Philippines. Unaware that he has been identified in the newspaper as Mark's killer, Jim introduces himself to Martha, and she feigns friendliness toward him. As Martha is about to call the police, however, Jim realizes his mistake and knocks her out. Later, Jim tries to convince the bound and gagged Martha that he did not inform on her husband for stealing rations from the Japanese guards, a revelation that led to his death, but she continues to fight him. Desperate, Jim calls Ted Niles, a trusted seaman with whom he and Mark were imprisoned, and makes plans to meet him in Los Angeles. Using Mark's gun, Jim forces Martha to drive him to Los Angeles, but along the way, her car is almost run off the road by two men in another vehicle. After Jim passes out at the wheel, Martha notices scars from a severe whipping on his chest and finally believes his story. Stopping at an Oceanside trailer camp, Martha nurses Jim back to health, then insists on accompanying him to Los Angeles. There, while dining at a Chinatown restaurant with Martha, Jim sees Ken Tokoyama, a vicious guard known as "The Weasel" at the prison camp where he was held. Sure that Tokoyama is somehow involved in his troubles, Jim tries to confront him, but loses him in a Chinatown crowd. Later, after the two men from the highway suddenly appear at the restaurant, Jim tells Ted about Tokoyama. Concerned, Ted advises Jim not to leave his hotel and agrees to meet with Martha at his apartment. Ted tells Martha that he has hired a private detective to find Tokoyama and insists that Jim stay low. Jim, however, returns to the restaurant and, seeing a real estate sign on the outside wall, makes inquiries about Tokoyama at the posting agency. Unknown to Jim, the agency is a front for Tokoyama, and he is almost caught by the ex-guard and his two henchmen. Later at their hotel, Jim and Martha receive word from Ted that Tokoyama has booked a train for that night. When Jim arrives at the specified train car, however, he is surprised to find not only Tokoyama there, but Ted as well. Ted implicates himself in Mark's death and admits that, since the end of the war, he and Tokoyama have been involved in a lucrative, illegal business. As Ted and Tokoyama then plan Jim's impending "fall" from the train, Martha uncovers Ted's duplicity and alerts the Navy Zone Intelligence Office, which has been trailing her and Jim, to his predicament. Back on the train, Jim is about to be pushed to his death when the police order an emergency stop and arrest Ted and Tokoyama. Later, after they learn that Ted and Tokoyama were involved in a multi-million dollar counterfeiting scheme, Jim and Martha announce their marriage plans.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Thriller
War
Release Date
Mar 1949
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 3m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,655ft

Articles

The Clay Pigeon


A man awakens from a coma to discover he's accused of treason.
The Clay Pigeon

The Clay Pigeon

A man awakens from a coma to discover he's accused of treason.

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The Clay Pigeon was the first film to be produced at RKO under millionaire aviator Howard Hughes's new directorship. According to Hollywood Reporter, Lawrence Tierney was first slated to star in this picture, and Sid Rogell was to produce it. Modern sources note that Carl Foreman's story was inspired by an actual incident in which a former serviceman recognized his Japanese prison guard in Los Angeles.