The Prowler (1951 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joseph Losey|
|Produced by||Sam Spiegel|
|Screenplay by||Dalton Trumbo
|Story by||Robert Thoeren
|Music by||Lyn Murray|
|Cinematography||Arthur C. Miller|
|Edited by||Paul Weatherwax|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||92 minutes|
The Prowler is a 1951 black-and-white thriller film noir directed by Joseph Losey that stars Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes. The film was produced by Sam Spiegel (as S.P. Eagle) and was written by Dalton Trumbo under a pseudonym.
Webb Garwood, a disgruntled cop, is called to investigate a voyeur by Susan Gilvray. Her husband works nights as an overnight radio personality. The cop falls in love with the young and attractive married woman.
Obsessed, he woos her despite her initial reluctance. Garwood finds out about an insurance policy on the husband's life. He dreams up a scheme in which a phantom "prowler" would be a good scapegoat if Susan's husband should happen to die mysteriously. After becoming a prowler himself, Garwood commits the murder and makes it look like self-defense.
Susan, who is pregnant, runs away with Garwood to a ghost town named Calico to have the baby without anyone back home knowing. Susan goes into premature labor and Garwood finds a doctor. Garwood intends to kill the doctor to preserve their secret—Susan was pregnant several months before the marriage to Garwood—but the doctor escapes with the newborn.
Garwood confesses to the murder of Susan's husband and she tells him to get out. He drives away, leaving his wife in Calico alone. On the way out of town, Garwood runs (literally) into his former partner on the police force. While attempting to escape, Garwood sees several police cars coming so he heads for the hills. He refuses to stop and a sheriff's deputy shoots him dead.
- Van Heflin as Webb Garwood
- Evelyn Keyes as Susan Gilvray
- John Maxwell as Bud Crocker
- Katherine Warren as Mrs. Crocker
- Emerson Treacy as William Gilvray
- Dalton Trumbo plays the voice of the John Gilvray, the night-time radio DJ.
Film critic Dennis Schwartz liked the film, writing, "A neat noir thriller that has a slight variation on the Double Indemnity theme, this time it is the guy who is the seducer. This is a Joseph Losey American film, made before his self-exile from the 1950s HUAC witch hunt days when he fled to England. It is the director's aim to highlight social issues and class differences. They will play a major role in the motif, adding to the usual noir ones of dark character and sexual misconduct. Dalton Trumbo, the blacklisted writer, is the uncredited cowriter of the script."
- The Prowler at the Internet Movie Database
- The Prowler at AllMovie
- The Prowler at the TCM Movie Database
- The Prowler informational site and DVD review at DVD Beaver (includes images)
- The Prowler film trailer on YouTube