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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cause For Alarm (1951)

An ill man (Barry Sullivan) with a heart condition is convinced his wife (Loretta Young) and his doctor (Bruce Cowling) are plotting to murder him. He sends a letter to the District Attorney detailing the plot and asks his wife, who is unaware of the contents, to mail the letter. Based on a radio play by Larry Marcus and directed by Tay Garnett (POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE). At a tight and stripped down hour and 15 minutes or thereabouts, Garnett doesn't allow time for any distractions. There's a flashback which is used for exposition early in the proceedings but after that, every moment counts as the tension builds to its nail biting conclusion. I liked the young pre-code Loretta Young but from the late 1930s through out the 1940s, she became almost insufferable. But she's back on track here with a suitably intense performance of barely suppressed hysteria. It's a minor low budget film but it delivers more punch than many a big budget studio project. The score is by Andre Previn. With Margalo Gillmore and Richard Anderson.

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