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The Prowler (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | 25 May 1951 (USA)
When Susan Gilvray reports a prowler outside her house police officer Webb Garwood investigates and sparks fly. If only her husband wasn't in the way.

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writers:

Robert Thoeren (story), Hans Wilhelm (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Van Heflin ... Webb Garwood
Evelyn Keyes ... Susan Gilvray
John Maxwell ... Bud Crocker
Katherine Warren ... Grace Crocker (as Katharine Warren)
Emerson Treacy ... William Gilvray
Madge Blake ... Martha Gilvray
Wheaton Chambers Wheaton Chambers ... Doctor James
Robert Osterloh ... Coroner
Sherry Hall Sherry Hall ... John Gilvray
Louise Lorimer ... Motel Manager
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Storyline

In a fancy suburb in California, the gorgeous housewife Susan Gilvray finds a prowler outside her house late one night and she calls the police. Officer Webb Garwood and his partner answer the call but do not find anyone. Later Webb returns to Susan's house with the pretext of checking if everything is OK. Susan invites him in to have coffee with her. Webb soon learns that Susan is married to John Gilvray, a middle-aged broadcaster of a late night radio show. They also discover that they are from the same hometown. Webb makes a pass at Susan and even though she tries to put him off they soon start a love affair. When John becomes suspicious Susan ends her relationship with Webb. Though difficult Webb stays away from Susan. Without Susan's knowledge Webb plots a scheme to get rid of John; he simulates a scenario where John is "accidently" shot dead. There is an inquest and it is ruled that John Gilvray's death was not intentional. Webb quits the police-force a job he was never happy ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Watch out for THE PROWLER See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 May 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cost of Living See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Horizon Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Novelist James Ellroy ("L.A. Confidential", "The Black Dahlia") once called this his favorite film and described it as "a masterpiece of sexual creepiness, institutional corruption and suffocating, ugly passion." See more »

Goofs

Webb tells Susan the birth of their baby will increase the ghost town's population by 33-1/3%. The birth will increase the population by 50% because the population will go from two to three. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bud Crocker: [to Webb while they walk up to the house] Quite a hacienda.
[rings doorbell]
Susan Gilvray: Oh, thank you so much for coming.
Bud Crocker: You report a prowler ma'am?
Susan Gilvray: Yes, about twenty minutes ago. I looked up and there was this man looking in the window.
Bud Crocker: Which window?
Susan Gilvray: It was one of the back windows.
Bud Crocker: Well there's an empty lot on that side isn't there?
Susan Gilvray: Yes. When he saw that I'd seen him, he jumped away from the window and I-I phoned you.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Maltin on Movies: Unknown & Cedar Rapids (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Baby
Lyrics by Dick Mack
Music by Lyn Murray
Sung by Robert Carroll (as Bob Carroll)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Van Heflin is great
21 September 2010 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Van Heflin is "The Prowler" in this 1951 noir directed by Joseph Losey and also starring Evelyn Keyes. Heflin plays a bitter cop named Webb who meets the lonely Susan (Keyes), whose husband works at night on the radio, when he investigates a prowler at her house. He returns, ostensibly to check up on her, and they discover they're from the same part of the country. Soon, they're involved in a love affair that has serious implications.

Losey was a hit or miss director. He was blacklisted and made several films starring Dirk Bogarde in Europe, including the amazing The Servant and a big miss, Modesty Blaise. Here he's on the money with a suspenseful, well done film. Van Heflin is brilliant as Webb, who finally sees a chance at making his dreams come true, and Keyes is wonderful as Susan, disappointed in her marriage.

"The Prowler" was restored by UCLA, and for some reason, when Christopher-Jan Horrocks discussed it on TCM, he described the story incorrectly.

Frankly, I thought this film had a couple of plot problems, but I can't go into them without giving the film away. The event that the plot hinges on is certainly a daring one for those days. I'll just say that the two main characters would have had to have been Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for a total stranger to have realized what he realized immediately.

Well worth checking out.


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