Director John Sturges’s 1953 thriller stars Barbara Stanwyck as a panic-stricken woman called Helen Stilwin, who seeks help from an escaped convict killer (Ralph Meeker) when her husband (Barry Sullivan) is injured beside the beach in Mexico. One of his legs is pinned below a pier, and the sea is coming in relentlessly. The escaped convict kidnaps Helen.
Written by Mel Dinelli, this little film noir thriller is packed with more clichés than thrills. But it is very neatly acted and director Sturges squeezes it for all the suspense it is worth – and a little more. Stanwyck is excellent, Victor Milner’s (thankfully mainly exterior) black and white cinematography distinguished and Dimitri Tiomkin’s score help to bring the film to the boil.
It is based on Maurice Zimm’s 22-minute radio play called A Question of Time.
Milner also has a bit part in the movie. Partly shot in Pioneertown, it features footage of the cantina building that now houses the popular hipster music venue Pappy & Harriet’s.
Also in the cast are Lee Aaker, Paul Fierro, Sol Gorss, Alex Montoya, Ken Terrell, Felipe Turich, Natividad Vacîo and Bud Wolfe.
It is on a Barbara Stanwyck double bill DVD with To Please a Lady (1950).
© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 4974
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