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Erich von Stroheim,
Mary Beth Hughes,
Invalid George Jones is both physically and mentally ill. He mistakenly believes his wife Ellen and his doctor are having an affair and also planning to kill him. He writes a letter to his lawyer detailing their alleged murder plot. After he has Ellen give the letter to their postman, he reveals its contents to her and then threatens her with a gun. The excitement proves to much and George suffers a fatal collapse. Now Ellen must find a way to retrieve the incriminating letter. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After picking up a cut-rate DVD box set containing 100 "mystery" films that have lapsed into the public domain I came across this thriller from 1951 about a dutiful housewife who watches her bedridden husband slip into paranoia. Whether the film possesses film noir bona fidas is not the question; the answer is that the film is quite effective at stirring up Hitchcock like thrills for the picture's final reels. The filmmakers even inject a note of ambiguity at the film's conclusion enough to make you wonder if the film's climax could perhaps be viewed from a different perspective.
Like so many films of the era there are several things that do raise humorous eyebrows these days. At the onset Loretta Young is doing "housework"; struggling with an unruly vacuum cleaner while wearing an elegant dress that would be more than appropriate attire for a four star restaurant. It really wasn't that long ago that millions of women would have killed for Young's sedate upper middle class existence as a "housewife." The idea that a doctor would make a house-call (let alone two house-calls in one day) is a humorous artifact of a bygone era. Redgardless of the anachronistic humor, "Cause For Alarm" is a pleasant diversion.
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