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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Witness To Murder (1954)

Looking out her window late at night, a woman (Barbara Stanwyck) sees a man (George Sanders) strangling a woman. She calls the police but when they investigate they find nothing and dismiss her claims as a nightmare she had. She attempts to do some investigating on her own but the murderer has some diabolical plans of his own. This no frills potboiler is reminiscent of REAR WINDOW even though it opened before the Hitchcock classic. Since we witness the killing along with Stanwyck, we know she's telling the truth while everyone around thinks she's crackers. It might have benefited the film if the actual murder was in doubt so we would be kept in suspense if Stanwyck really was losing her mind. As it is, her behavior is somewhat irritating because her actions are unstable. The film goes a little further than necessary when it makes Sanders an ex-Nazi still spouting "superman" garbage. But it's the presence of those two pros than make the film watchable and there's the wonderful stark noir-ish lensing of the great John Alton shooting on locations rather than studio sets. Efficiently directed by Roy Rowland (5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T). With Gary Merrill, Juanita Moore, Jesse White, Claude Akins and Claire Carleton.

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