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Tension (1949)

Passed  -  Crime | Drama | Film-Noir  -  25 November 1949 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,163 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 15 critic

A meek pharmacist creates an alternate identity under which he plans to murder the bullying liquor salesman who has become his wife's lover.



(screenplay), (based on the story by), 1 more credit »
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Title: Tension (1949)

Tension (1949) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Complete credited cast:
Warren Quimby
Audrey Totter ...
Claire Quimby
Mary Chanler
Lt. Collier Bonnabel
Lloyd Gough ...
Barney Deager
Tom D'Andrea ...
Lt. Edgar Gonsales
Tito Renaldo ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The hard-hitting story of a man with a plan...REVENGE!


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Release Date:

25 November 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tension  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Portions of André Previn's music score were recycled as title theme for same studio's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958). 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 »


[first lines]
Police Lt. Collier Bonnabel: I'm Collier Bonnabel. I'm a cop. I'm a Lieutenant Detective in, uh, Homicide. That's a fancy name for murder.
See more »


Referenced in American Grindhouse (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Anything but tense
30 June 2008 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Tension is an okay MGM noir from 1949, but, despite a bizarre opening with Barry Sullivan's homicide cop explaining to camera the principles of tension with the aid of a rubber band, it's noticeably anything but tense. Richard Basehart's the downtrodden druggist who comes up with the perfect plan to kill sluttish wife Audrey Totter's new 'big man' Lloyd Gough only to decide not to go through with it (understandable since in the meantime he's fallen for Cyd Charisse, which is a definite trade up). Unfortunately for him, someone does the job for him and the false identity he has created to take the blame becomes the prime suspect… If the pitch is similar to Henri-Georges Clouzot's Quai des Orfevres, made two years earlier, the execution couldn't be more different, with the first half focussing on Basehart's preparations and the second on Sullivan and William Conrad's investigation as the lead cop decides the best way to solve the case is to hit on Totter. The absence of suspects is a bit of a problem (the motive for the killing is never discovered), but it ticks over efficiently enough even if it could have benefited from a tighter running time and a sharper script.

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