Quote of the Week

His noir work in 1957, however, was limited to a two-minute morsel in the Russell Rouse prison yarn House of Numbers. Star Jack Palance, himself a scary guy in most roles, looks positively intimidated by Carey in a scene in which they play San Quentin cellmates. Carey sets the mood by spitting a cigarette butt into the commode. He fidgets with a transistor radio in his pocket. With another weirdly concocted brogue (he is playing an inmate named Frenchy), he tells a story about beating another prisoner with his tray in the mess hall for trying to steal his milk. And then he offers with a warped grin, “You been to any other colleges? I have. I spent six years in Sing Sing and four years in Joliet. I’m taking a postgraduate course. This is my second time here.” The film was actually shot in San Quentin State Prison using real prisoners as extras, but no one in it – real or staged – played an inmate with such – er, conviction. House of Numbers is worth viewing just for Carey’s tiny but tasty part.

– Carl Steward, “Timothy Carey: Noir’s Wildest Card,” Noir City Annual #2: The Best of the 2009 Noir City Sentinel (Film Noir Foundation, 2010)

House of Numbers

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