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Cause for Alarm! (1951)

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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 967 users  
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Mr. Jones is a invalid husband who wrongly thinks his wife and doctor are conspiring to kill him and outlines that suspicion in letter, which causes a serious concern when he ends up dying anyway.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Cause for Alarm! (1951)

Cause for Alarm! (1951) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Complete credited cast:
Ellen Jones
George Z. Jones
Bruce Cowling ...
Dr. Ranney Grahame
Margalo Gillmore ...
Mrs. Edwards
Brad Morrow ...
Hoppy - Billy (as Bradley Mora)
Irving Bacon ...
Mr. Carston - Postman
Georgia Backus ...
Mrs. Warren
Don Haggerty ...
Mr. Russell
Art Baker ...
Lonesome Sailor


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This Girl Is In Trouble!


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 August 1951 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Cause for Alarm!  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Was shot in a very short period of time and rehearsed the same way that Loretta Young's television show, The Loretta Young Show (1953), would be rehearsed several years later See more »


George Z. Jones: Ummm... my head.
Ellen Jones: Is your head bothering you?
George Z. Jones: Terribly... both of them.
Ellen Jones: Would you like me to rub it for you?
See more »


Edited into Muchachada nui: Episode #2.8 (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Did Young Exercise Her "Star Power"
27 November 2008 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Decent enough thriller that nevertheless suffers a gap in exposition. In spite of reviewer Jacobfam's highly revealing analytic, the narrative jump from a healthy if quirky George (Sullivan) to a bed-ridden, full-blown paranoic is simply too visually abrupt to be convincing-- and this remains the case despite the clues that Jacobfam so brilliantly assembles. After all, this is a movie and not a literary assignment . The way the narrative stands, it's as if the producers wanted to get rid of co-star Sullivan as quickly as possible so the movie would become exclusively Young's. And admittedly, the last three-fourths do become hers, in spite of the shadow George casts.

Where the film works well is showing how innocent daily occurrences transform into a pattern of guilt once suspicion takes over. Ellen (Young) sees the trap closing around her that George has so cleverly laid, but there is little she can do unless she retrieves that incriminating letter. It's that pursuit that generates audience involvement. It's simply one frustration after another—a pesky salesman, a nosy neighbor, but above all, a quirky mailman (Bacon), who are sealing her fate. The script cleverly turns the mailman into just the kind of character who would stand on an unthinking rule rather than a dose of common sense. Meanwhile, the letter floats tantalizingly just beyond her reach. Some reviewers fault Young's emotional performance during the pursuit. But put yourself in her place. Her whole life hangs in the balance because of that letter. Given what's at stake, her emotional pitch seems about right.

In passing—Can't help noticing similarity between this film and 1952's Beware, My Lovely, both scripted by Mel Dinelli, and both concerning a housewife trapped by an unbalanced man. But, notice in Beware how well the unbalanced man's (Robert Ryan) background is visually sketched in. Unlike Cause, there are no developmental gaps, an inclusion that makes for a more persuasive and effective narrative. Also, I recall an episode of Hitchcock Presents where a woman frantically tries to retrieve an incriminating letter. But when the missive is returned for insufficient postage, a good Samaritan maid supplies the missing postage!-- A typical touch of Hitchcock irony. Anyway, Cause remains a decent, if flawed, 75 minutes of entertainment.

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