Carny #2: He reached too high...
Tyrone Power ended up so low because he aimed too high in Nightmare Alley. I consider his performance the best of his career.
The Variety magazine review complimented the film's acting, noting that:
Nightmare Alley is a harsh, brutal story (based on the novel by William Lindsay Gresham) told with the sharp clarity of an etching ... Most vivid of these is Joan Blondell as the girl he works for the secrets of the mind-reading act. Coleen Gray is sympathetic and convincing as his steadfast wife and partner in his act and Helen Walker comes through successfully as the calculating femme who topples Power from the heights of fortune back to degradation as the geek in the carney ("Mister, I was made for it."). Ian Keith is outstanding as Blondell's drunken husband.Note:
Formalism shifts to realism in the garden scene. Lee Garmes' expressive cinematography reaches a surreal apex of light and shadow when Stan (Tyrone Power) pretends to conjure the spirit of a dead woman in a wealthy client's garden amid the obliquely lit trees and bushes. Stan enlists his wife (Coleen Gray) to impersonate the deceased girl, but at the crucial moment she has an attack of conscience and exposes the fraud.
Tyrone Power as Stanton "Stan" Carlisle
Joan Blondell as Zeena Krumbein
Coleen Gray as Molly Carlisle
Helen Walker as Lilith Ritter
Taylor Holmes as Ezra Grindle
Mike Mazurki as Bruno
Ian Keith as Pete Krumbein
Directed by Edmund Goulding
Produced by George Jessel
Screenplay by Jules Furthman
Based on the novel Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham
Music by Cyril J. Mockridge
Cinematography Lee Garmes
Edited by Barbara McLean
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates October 9, 1947 (United States)
Running time 110 minutes