Fear in the Night (1947 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the 1972 British film, see Fear in the Night (1972 film).
Fear in the Night
Fear in the Night 1947 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Maxwell Shane
Produced by William H. Pine
William C. Thomas
Screenplay by Maxwell Shane
Based on the story "Nightmare" 
by Cornell Woolrich
Starring Paul Kelly
DeForest Kelley
Ann Doran
Kay Scott
Music by Rudy Schrager
Cinematography Jack Greenhalgh
Edited by Howard A. Smith
Production
  company
Pine-Thomas Productions
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s)
  • April 18, 1947 (1947-04-18) (United States)
Running time 72 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Fear in the Night is a 1947 American low budget black-and-white film noir mystery film directed by Maxwell Shane and starring Paul Kelly and DeForest Kelley (in his film debut). It is based on the Cornell Woolrich story "And So to Death" (retitled '"Nightmare" in 1943). Woolrich is credited under pen name William Irish.[1] The film was remade by the same director in 1956 with the title Nightmare this time starring Edward G. Robinson playing the cop and Kevin McCarthy.[2]

Plot[edit]

Bank teller Vince Grayson (DeForest Kelley) dreams that he stabs a man in an octagonal room of mirrors and locks the body in a closet. When he wakes up, he discovers marks on his throat, a strange key and a button in his pocket, and blood on his cuff. Cliff Herlihy (Paul Kelly), his police officer brother-in-law, tries to convince him it was just a dream.

A few days later, while trying to find cover from the rain, the pair finds themselves taking shelter in the strange house from Vince's dream. They discover that the police found two bodies in the house, one in the mirrored room and one run over in the driveway. Mrs. Belknap, who was run over by a car, gave the police a description matching Vince before she died.

At first Vince is hopeful that he is innocent because he does not know how to drive, but he recognizes the victims from his dream. Overcome with remorse, he attempts suicide, but is rescued by Cliff. The detective uncovers clues that point to an evil hypnotist (Robert Emmett Keane) manipulating Vince. They realize that the hypnotist is actually Mr. Belknap in disguise and try to trap him by pretending that Vince wants hush money.

Belknap puts Vince under hypnosis and tries to get him to drown himself. Cliff rescues him from the lake and Mr. Belknap is killed in a car accident as he is trying to evade the police. It is implied that Vince will be acquitted of all charges since he killed the man in the mirrored room in self-defense.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

When the film was released the film critic for The New York Times panned the film, writing, "Fear in the Night, a minor shocker which opened at the Rialto yesterday, is just about as ridiculous as any that comes in this line ... It is not only silly but rather dull. DeForest Kelley is dopey as the fall guy and Paul Kelly is brisk as his detective friend."[3]

More recently, film critic Dennis Schwartz was more positive and liked the film, writing, "An excellent low-budget psychological thriller directed and written by Maxwell Shane that is based on the story "Nightmare" by Cornell Woolrich. Cinematographer Greenhalgh's shadowy black and white photography gives it a film noir look ... The taut pulp story, dreamy atmospheric settings and brooding mood throughout, all serve the film well. The crisp acting was just right. DeForest Kelley, in his debut performance, does a fine job as the innocent victim."[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fear in the Night at the Internet Movie Database.
  2. ^ Nightmare at the Internet Movie Database.
  3. ^ The New York Times. Film review, April 19, 1947. Accessed: July 8, 2013.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, September 24, 2004. Accessed: July 8, 2013.

External links[edit]

Streaming audio[edit]

  • Nightmare on Suspense: March 13, 1948. Radio drama of story on which the movie was based.