Paul Raden (Albert Dekker), hopelessly insane son of Maxim Raden, hated owner of the Radentown mills, is in a strait jacket in a secret room in the family mansion, while the body of his father is lowered into a grave. Twenty-five years earlier, the brutal father had hurled Paul against a wall when the young boy had tried to defend his mother and, with his brain injured forever, Paul's last memory, before descending into the shadows on insanity, was his mother's agonized scream. At the graveside are Dr. Ben Saunders (Harry Carey), Paul's twin brother John (Albert Dekker) and John's wife Elaine (Frances Farmer). Pompey (Ernest Whitman'), the family servant who has cared for and guarded Paul and kept the family secret for a quarter of a century,watches from afar. That night Dr. Saunders tells John that his twin, who he thought dead, is alive as the father, refusing to commit him to an institution, had bribed the doctor to sign a false death certificate and then bury another child's body ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
[Not knowing Paul is the escaped serial killer, Millie gives him a gun and suggests they search the deserted Raden estate to earn the reward for his capture]
You're not afraid -- at all?
For five thousand dollars, I'm not afraid of anything, not even death!
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Although Among The Living is a B film from Paramount it's a real nugget of gold among a lot of B dross. You will rarely see mob violence depicted as well as in this film. Two films that this stands comparison with in that regard are Fury and Night Of The Hunter.
It's also a great example of the mobility of careers. Frances Farmer whose career was heading down is in a relatively colorless part of the wife of one Albert Dekker. Susan Hayward plays the slutty daughter of a boardinghouse owner who gets involved with the other twin Dekker. She's got the far juicier role and makes the most of it.
Once upon a time a man had two twin sons both of whom grew up to be Albert Dekker. As is told by the town doctor Harry Carey, one was sent to a prep school, the other stayed at home. By all accounts dad was a tyrant at home and at work where he owned the mill that employed most of the town. The twin that stayed at home witnessed dad beating on mom and tried to stop it. Dad picked him and threw him against a wall injuring his brain.
Rather than risk exposure dad had his friend Harry Carey fake a death certificate and they kept the kid in a locked room. Now father is dead and the kid who has grown up to be Albert Dekker is a now quite unhinged and murders a family servant to escape.
And while out murders a woman that the town blames his brother for. Quite a dilemma for the sane Dekker and wife Farmer.
Hayward gives a good account of herself, but the film really belongs to Albert Dekker. This is quite possibly his career film, even more so than Dr. Cyclops. Especially playing the mad son, you really do feel for him knowing it's not his fault the way he is.
With a good does of both noir and Gothic horror, I highly recommend this film for fans of both genres. And definitely for fans of Susan Hayward as I am.
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