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A young man, morally destroyed by his parents not loving him and by the fear of being not capable to make his girlfriend happy, rises on the ledge of a building with the intention of committing suicide. A policeman makes every effort to argue him out of that. Written by
Tiziana Totaro <email@example.com>
The building used was demolished in 1967. It was replaced by the 52-story tower 140 Broadway, noted for its large red cube in the plaza. See more »
Stock rear projection footage of normally-moving motor traffic while Cosick is on ledge is not consistent with huge traffic jam shown in area surrounding hotel where he is threatening suicide leap. See more »
A movie like this presents a real challenge. After all, the producers have got what amounts to a single set, two main characters, and 90 minutes to fill. So to please ticket-buying customers, they better come up with something good. Fortunately, they do. The plot is a literal cliffhanger or maybe skyscraper is more aptwill a suicidal young Richard Basehart jump from his 20th floor ledge or not. He certainly has audiences on both sides of the screen glued to the suspense, at the same time city police try to convince him it's better to be an unhappy bi-ped than a bird without wings. Good thing that the producers also come up with one of the best young actors of the timeBasehart, who acts just foggy enough to teeter on a ledge and play Hamlet. Then there's that genial roughneck Paul Douglas as the cop who tries to persuade him that it's really better to be than not-to-be.
Note how ace studio director Hathaway keeps the hotel room bustling so that the static ledge shots don't become boring. Also, note how TV is competing with radio coverage at a time when the tube was just beginning to take off. Then there're the subplots that take the pulse of the city. The cynical cabbies do offer comic relief. But, frankly, I could have done without the young lovers, Paget and Hunter, who appear better suited to a Pepsi commercial, or the Grace Kelly soap opera that comes across as trite and unimaginative. But I guess the producers figured a variety of relief was needed. Also, I can see from the close-ups why Hitchcock liked Barbara Bel Geddes (Virginia). She pulls off the really difficult task of being sweetly wholesome without drowning the part in sugar.
All in all, there's enough skill and craftsmanship in this TCF production to keep even digital- age audiences on the edge of their seat.
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