Paul, a young man whose father was once lieutenant Governor of California before his untimely death, has a strange, recurring dream in which his mother falls in love with a dangerous man (...
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Paul, a young man whose father was once lieutenant Governor of California before his untimely death, has a strange, recurring dream in which his mother falls in love with a dangerous man (Brett Curtis), a dream which also contains the image of his father's death in an automobile accident under mysterious circumstances. Through the help of his friend, a psychiatrist, Paul realizes that his dream is coming true, and that his mother is falling under Curtis's influence. Curtis, in fact, is a homicidal maniac who lives as an out-patient at the sanitarium of the unscrupulous Dr. Muhlbach. When Curtis makes an attempt to marry Paul's mother, Paul intervenes, and after a series of events discovers the truth behind his dreams. Written by
Wheeler Winston Dixon
Morbidly interesting thriller focused on precognitive dreams.
Much has been made of Mr. Ulmer's talent, and here, he makes good use of it. While someone on the order of a brooding Farley Granger, for example, would have been preferable as the lead, James Lydon, nonetheless, turns in a commendable job as Paul Cartwright, a college student haunted by prophetic dreams. It's genuinely refreshing for a change, to look back upon a time, when teen-agers were still presented in a wholesome and appealing light. And, Mr. Lydon, movieland's "Henry Aldrich" certainly had the credentials for those traits. But, here, Lydon is caught in a story of deathly threats, with implications far more threatening, than the "Golly--Gee!" consequences of smashing his date's corsage for the Senior Prom.
As for the plot, Paul, manages to prevent his wealthy widowed mother from marrying a male gold-digger, with a string of unsolved murders in his past. Naturally, Paul has to undergo any number of travails before the violent denouement, including amateur "detective" work that triggers both a feigned and a near real nervous collapse. He is even "voluntarily" committed to an asylum where further sinister developments befall him. The ending, cleverly finds him lost in an unconscious dream state again, but now enjoying a vision of a liberated and happy future.
Mr. Lydon was "slumming" at PRC, on loan from Paramount, and preparatory to his turns with glamorous Elizabeth Taylor in "Life With Father" and "Cynthia" both glossy, expensive, mainline productions.
Nonetheless, this PRC production possesses relatively handsome art direction and production values, given that, based on production files with the American Film Institute, it was actually shot in just 15 days, (as opposed to the erroneous oft-cited 6 day schedule.) By the way, take a good, hard, look at the exteriors of the Lydon family chateau in this. Look familiar? Yes, it's the same house used as Robert Walker's home in "Strangers on a Train" and June Lockhart's in "Bury Me Dead."
All told, if you enjoy crime stories focused on young people trapped in traumatic circumstances, it's definately worth a look.
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