A Life at Stake
|A Life at Stake|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Paul Guilfoyle|
|Produced by||A.C. Burger (associate producer)
Charles Maxwell (executive producer)
Hank McCune (producer)
|Written by||Russ Bender (screenplay)
Hank McCune (story idea)
|Music by||Les Baxter|
|Edited by||Frank Sullivan|
The film is also known as Key Man.
Down-on-his-luck Los Angeles architect and builder Edward Shaw (Keith Andes) is approached by Doris Hillman (Angela Lansbury) with a business proposal: buying land together, on which he would build houses that she would then sell, using her experience as a former real estate broker. Her husband, Gus Hillman, a wealthy businessman, would be willing to contribute half a million dollars as capital for the venture.
Doris quickly seems interested in more than a purely professional relationship. Shaw starts an affair with her and accepts the business offer. However, an accidental discovery leaves him convinced that the Hillmans' interest lies less in the long-term profits of the venture than in the $175,000 key man insurance policy he took on himself as a precondition for the deal, and that an attempt on his life is imminent.
Madge, the younger sister of Doris, develops a romantic interest in Shaw as well. Without knowing what Doris has planned, she reveals to Shaw that her sister was married previously to a man who died in Wyoming when his car crashed over a bridge. Shaw ends up drugged by Gus Hillman and barely keeps his car from going off a cliff.
The police are skeptical about his story and the insurance company refuses to cancel the policy, Hillman having portrayed Shaw as a man who is trying to steal his wife. Madge teams with Shaw to try to foil her sister's scheme, but Doris lures him to a mountain cabin and shoots him with a gun. A wounded Shaw sees both Hillmans struggle then fall to their deaths through a clifftop doorway, just minutes before Madge and the cops arrive.
- Angela Lansbury as Doris Hillman
- Keith Andes as Edward Shaw
- Douglass Dumbrille as Gus Hillman
- Claudia Barrett as Madge Neilan
- Jane Darwell as Landlady
- Gavin Gordon as Sam Pearson
- Charles Maxwell as Lt. Hoff
- William Henry as Myles Norman
- Kathleen Mulqueen as Mary
- Dan Sturkie as Officer Biff
- Jeane Wood as Mabel, the maid
- Robert Haver as Mechanic
- A Life at Stake at the Internet Movie Database
- A Life at Stake is available for free download at the Internet Archive
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