The Pretender (film)

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The Pretender
Theatrical release poster
Directed by W. Lee Wilder
Produced by W. Lee Wilder
Written by Don Martin
Doris Miller
Starring Albert Dekker
Catherine Craig
Charles Drake
Alan Carney
Music by Paul Dessau
Cinematography John Alton
Edited by John F. Link Sr.
Asa Boyd Clark
W. Lee Wilder Productions
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release date
  • August 11, 1947 (1947-08-11) (United States)
Running time
69 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Pretender is a 1947 crime drama film noir directed by W. Lee Wilder starring Albert Dekker, Catherine Craig, Charles Drake and Alan Carney.[1]


The story tells of Kenneth Holden (Dekker), a crooked investment businessman who embezzles a large sum of money from an estate. He hopes to cover his crime by marrying the estate's heiress Claire Worthington (Craig).

However, Worthington is already engaged, so Holden arranges for her fiancé to be killed. The hired hit man's only means of identifying the victim is the picture in the society columns. When Claire Worthington changes her mind and agrees to marry Holden, however, it means that it is his picture that will appear in the newspaper, thereby condemning him to death.

Desperately trying to contact the hit man, Holden discovers that the man is dead, but his successor is still at large.


Critical reception[edit]

Critic Dennis Schwartz liked the film and wrote, "Billy Wilder's lesser known elder brother William Lee Wilder...directs this striking film noir about a successful man becoming paranoiac and placing himself in entrapment. In one amazing characteristic noir scene, the protagonist is seated on the floor of his unlit, locked room eating crackers and canned food, afraid of being poisoned. This is one of the first movies to score for theremin, an effectively chilling mood music which later became a cliché for many 1950s sci-fi films about aliens. John Alton's dark film noir photography sets the proper mood for the melodrama. The film noir is absorbing despite stilted dialogue and flat direction."[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Pretender on IMDb.
  2. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, October 11, 2004. Last accessed: January 10, 2008.

External links[edit]