Cast & Crew
In Los Angeles, sporting goods store owner Dan Lawton cautiously walks up a street on the lookout for hunting expert Frank Garrick, with whom he is engaged in an unusual hunting game. As Dan continues along nervously with a rifle slung over his shoulder, he recalls how the challenge came about: A year earlier while serving in the army during the Korean War, Dan is promoted to lieutenant, enraging young Tommy Garrick, who believes he has been passed over in favor of Dan. Tommy writes an angry letter home to his older brother Frank, complaining that Dan is incapable of leadership and cautioning his brother that if anything should happen to him, Dan is to blame. Shortly thereafter, during a raid, Dan's platoon comes under sniper fire and despite Dan's warning, Tommy leaps up to fire at the sniper and is killed. Some months later after the war's end, Frank is surprised to receive a visit from Dan, who offers condolences and details of Tommy's death. Mindful of his brother's letter, which affected him deeply, Frank nevertheless affects a casual interest in Dan. The former soldier admits he has struggled since the war's end and is undergoing financial difficulties managing his sports shop. When Dan asks Frank about his large display of hunting trophies, Frank acknowledges that hunting has been his entire life and shows Dan film footage of several of his most dangerous expeditions. Frank then reveals that he has developed a new and unusual pursuit he hopes to put into action: hunting a man. Dan expresses astonishment, prompting Frank to explain that he has recently been diagnosed with a heart condition and forbidden to hunt. Unhappy over this restriction, Frank has developed a special rifle designed not to fire a bullet, but to use a film cartridge that takes a picture of the "victim" instead. Frank then proposes that he wager ten thousand dollars if Dan joins him in a one-on-one hunt using the two camera rifles he has developed. When Dan protests that he cannot match Frank's wager, the hunter says he is so confident that he will win that he will allow Dan to put up only one-tenth of the amount, and Dan agrees to the contest. The men then set terms that each will be allowed to make only one shot, each must make efforts to lure their "prey" into the open and will restrict the "hunt" to a specific region of the city. Frank presents Dan with a rifle and loads it with the film cartridge, then shows him the matching rifle and case that he will use. After Dan departs, however, Frank loads his rifle with a real bullet, determined to get revenge on Dan for Tommy's death. In the present, Dan continues cautiously into a neighborhood designated for the start of the challenge, unaware that he has just bypassed Frank. Later, unable to find Dan, Frank looks up his residence and learns from the manager that Dan has gone to Avalon. In Avalon, both men wander a deserted oil ship simultaneously, but do not see each other. Returning to his apartment building, Dan finds a card left for him bearing the name of the club that Frank mentioned Tommy frequented. While Dan goes to the club, Frank is stopped and questioned by the police for carrying the rifle. At the club, Dan strikes up a conversation with Helen Leyden, unaware that she left the card for him. Dan agrees to accompany Helen to her apartment where she confesses that she was Tommy's girl friend, and, although Frank did not approve of their engagement, he has befriended her after Tommy's death. Helen tells Dan that she is aware of the hunt and warns him that Frank is dangerous. Doubtful of Helen's claims, Dan departs, unaware that Frank has purposely met with a woman living in Helen's building in hopes of catching him there. After seeing Dan leave the building, Frank trails him to a nearby park and takes aim only to realize that in his exhaustion he has somehow confused another man with his intended quarry. Returning home, Frank worries that his heart will not withstand the stress of the hunt and decides he needs a second bullet in the event that he misses with his first shot. Before dawn the next day, Helen is startled by a visit from Frank who shows her Tommy's letter and wildly declares his intention to avenge his brother. When Helen protests that Dan was not responsible for Tommy's death, Frank angrily beats her, asserting that Helen was never worthy of Tommy. Frank then hurries away, intent on getting to a sporting store to purchase some bullets. A few blocks away as Dan takes up the hunt, rain threatens, forcing him into a nearby sporting store to purchase a raincoat. Dan leaves his rifle in its case on a back counter before trying on coats. Moments later, Frank rushes into the same store to purchase more bullets, but suffers a mild attack. A clerk helps him into a back room, placing his rifle on the side of the back counter. After recovering, Frank asks for his rifle and the clerk inadvertently gives him Dan's rifle. Moments after Frank departs with his bullets, Dan leaves with Frank's rifle. Dan then returns to Helen's apartment to confess his unease over her story about Frank and is incensed to learn of Frank's attack on her. Furious, Dan demands to know Frank's whereabouts and Helen reveals that he has taken a small apartment nearby. Meanwhile, at the apartment, Frank prepares to load his gun and is horrified to discover that he has somehow ended up with the camera rifle. At that moment, Frank notices Dan approaching the building outside and panics, certain that Dan has realized that he has the real rifle. Frank rushes to his car and speeds away, but crashes into a tree in his haste. Fleeing on foot, Frank runs down an alley, then suffers a major heart attack and dies just as Dan reaches him. Later, under police questioning, Dan offers the rifle for examination and is stunned to discover that it was loaded with a bullet.
Although the film's June 18, 1954 Hollywood Reporter production chart listing includes the name of actor Sean McClory as the first member of the cast, he was not in the completed film. The film was reviewed in 1954, but was not released until 1956 because it had no distributor. A Daily Variety February 1956 item notes that Associated Artists Productions purchased the distribution rights for Walk the Dark Street and released it under the Dominant Pictures banner. However, other sources only list the distributor as Realart Pictures, Inc. The Variety review noted that Eddie Kafafian, who appeared in the brief role of "Tommy Garrick" was a Daily Variety copy boy. Walk the Dark Street marked the feature film debut of Don Ross.