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A mousy drugstore manager turns killer after his conniving wife leaves him for another man. He devises a complex plan, which involves assuming a new identity, to make it look like someone else murdered her new boyfriend. Things take an unexpected turn when someone else commits the murder first and he becomes the prime suspect. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
When Richard Basehart's character of Quimby decides to create another identity for himself, he gets the idea for the name Sothern when he sees a movie fan magazine with Ann Sothern on the cover. "Tension" producer Robert Sisk was then in the process of prepping Shadow on the Wall (1950) to star Miss Sothern in the last film of her long-term MGM contract. See more »
Near the end, Warren Quimby puts both his hands in his pockets while facing the camera and talking. Then, in a reverse shot from behind, he is seen with his hands out of his pockets and putting them in again. See more »
Although a bit noir-sh at times, and produced during the golden era of that film genre, this is by no means a pure film noir. Rather, "Tension" is a B-movie version of the melodramas popular at all of the studios during the late 40s. And, certainly, as suggested by other posters, this film has no business being compared to Hitchcock.
Overall, I am pleasantly surprised with the talent, direction, script and locations.
Granted, the whole "Clark-Kent-wearing-glasses-isn't-Superman" form of disguise is ludicrous, but it has always been an accepted modus-operandi for the concept of hidden identities on stage, film and TV. The performances of all of the leads are good - none chew the scenery. Basehart never "got his due" as an actor, as I'm afraid most remember him as the captain on TV's "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" in the 60s. Totter is excellent, and while Cyd Charisse is little more than set dressing, she requites herself well.
The techniques of law have certainly changed, as the means of tricking the guilty party in this film is nothing less than entrapment.
And for those of you interested in architecture, that great Deco-ish apartment complex featured in the film is still much the same 55 years later, even down to the vines on the railing. It is located off West Olympic Blvd, just west of Century City (across from Pavilion's, behind hotel). By the way, contrary to what a previous poster states, most of this film takes place in Culver City - only the beach house and apartment complex are "in" Malibu. Being an MGM film, they stuck close to home with locations.
UPDATE: Bad news - that beautiful apt. complex is coming down in 2006. Now THAT is a crime!
Update 2: Jan 2007 - the building is still there.
Update 3: Oct 2008 - they're moving people out by 2010.
Update 4: October 2013 - still there!!
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