Hell's Half Acre was written directly for the screen by Steve Fisher, whose I Wake Up Screaming remains one of the definitive "film noirs." The scene is a rundown section of Honolulu, where there dwells a group of wannabes, hasbeens and never-weres. While trying to go straight in this environment, ex-racketeer Chet Chester (Wendell Corey) is shaken down by his former criminal cohorts. Chester's girl friend Rose (Nancy Gates) kills one of his tormentors, whereupon Chester takes the blame, assuming that he's still got enough pull to get off with a light sentence. Meanwhile, Dona Williams (Evelyn Keyes) arrives on the scene, certain that Chester is her long-lost husband. When Rose is murdered, Chester escapes from jail, intending to prove Dona's innocence--and to square accounts with the 10-year-old son he never knew he had. Elsa Lanchester provides much-needed laughs as a dotty cabdriver. Dismissed upon its first release, Hell's Half Acre is now considered one of the most durable of Republic's mid-1950s features.