I Walk Alone is tight, hard-boiled melodrama. A number of unusually tough sequences are spotted. One, in particular, is bloody beating handed out to Burt Lancaster by a trio of bruisers who spare no punches. Another is the dark-street stalking and gore-tinged death meted out to Wendell Corey.
There’s a Rip Van Winkle angle to the plot wherein a gangster returns from 14 years in prison to find that his former cronies now wear the garb of respectability and are in such pseudo-legit rackets as used cars, night clubs, etc. Charles Schnee’s screenplay, from the play Beggars Are Coming to Town by Theodore Reeves, makes much of the basic story’s flavor, although letting dialog run away with a few scenes.
Lancaster belts over his assignment as the former jailbird who returns from prison to find the parade has passed him by and that old friends have given him the double-cross. Melodrama develops as Lancaster plots to muscle in on Kirk Douglas’ nitery.
Lizabeth Scott holds up her end capably as co-star, making role of nitery singer who falls for Lancaster after a cross from Douglas, believable. Douglas is a standout as the hood turned respectable and fighting a losing battle to hold his kingdom together against Lancaster’s assault.