A medical student--broke, hungry and desperate for money--is hired to murder a loan shark. After the killing he is tormented by guilt over what he's done. A detective, who knows the student... See full summary »
A medical student--broke, hungry and desperate for money--is hired to murder a loan shark. After the killing he is tormented by guilt over what he's done. A detective, who knows the student committed the crime but can't prove it, plays on the young man's guilt in order to get him to confess to the crime. Written by
The dream (or nightmare) structure was a staple of the noir cycle; The Woman in the Window, Fear in the Night, and its remake Nightmare were some of the films that employed this device. Far from a cop-out, it was a way of packaging a rather subtle psychological insight: that our dreams expressed our conflicts between our superegos and our ids. (In a later film with noirish roots, Brian De Palma's Body Double, the "story" of the movie similarly sketched the protagonist's worst self-estimation, triggered by a claustrophobic episode.)
In Fear, a medical student (Peter Cookson) is on the brink of abandoning school because his money has run out; in frustration, he murders a professor who moonlights as a pawnbroker. Questioned by the police, he ill-advisedly spouts warmed-over Nietzsche like the effete killers in Hitchcock's Rope. Then, out of the blue, a scholarly periodical to which he submitted an article sends him a check for $1000 (!) -- the most implausible occurrence in the entire noir cyle. He grows more reckless, and suspicion continues to grow....
Fear was a low-budget Monogram programmer (clocking in at just over an hour) but looks a lot better, angled and shadowed like more lavish productions. It won't satisfy the literal-minded, but it's a decent enough way to while away a dark hour.
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