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The Prowler (1951)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,417 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 41 critic

When Susan Gilvray reports a prowler outside her house police officer Webb Garwood investigates and sparks fly. If only her husband wasn't in the way.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
John Maxwell ...
Katherine Warren ...
Grace Crocker (as Katharine Warren)
Emerson Treacy ...
Madge Blake ...
Wheaton Chambers ...
Dr. William R. James
Robert Osterloh ...
Coroner
Sherry Hall ...
Louise Lorimer ...
Motel Manager
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Storyline

In California, the gorgeous housewife Susan Gilvray glances at a prowler outside her house in a wasteland and she calls the police. Officer Webb Garwood and his partner attend the call and do not find anyone. Later Webb returns to her house with the pretext of checking if everything is OK with Susan and she invites him to drink a coffee with her. Soon he learns that Susan is married with John Gilvray, a middle age broadcaster of a late night radio show. Further, they discover that they are from the same homeland. Webb hits on Susan and soon they have a love affair. But when John suspects of Susan, their relationship comes to an end. Webb plots a scheme to get rid off John and he kills John simulating an accident. Webb goes on trial and is considered not-guilty for the murder of John. Webb quits the police and manipulates John's brother to get close to Susan again. He learns that John could not have children and their marriage was not perfect. Webb meets Susan and convinces her that he... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Watch out for THE PROWLER See more »


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Details

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Release Date:

3 December 1951 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Cost of Living  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The producer credit is for S.P. Eagle, who is, in actuality, producer Sam Spiegel, who co-produced the film along with an uncredited John Huston, under their Horizon Pictures banner. See more »

Goofs

Webb tells Susan the birth of their baby will increase the ghost town's population by 33%. The birth will increase the population by 50%. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Maltin on Movies: Unknown & Cedar Rapids (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Baby
Lyrics by Dick Mack
Music by Lyn Murray
Sung by Robert Carroll (as Bob Carroll)
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User Reviews

Never sells the central relationship and as a result is weak from the core
30 June 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Lonely housewife Susan Gilvray calls the police when she thinks she sees a prowler outside her bathroom window late one night; her husband works as a late night radio presenter and thus she is alone. The police check it out and can do very little but one of them, Webb Garwood, returns later that night to "check in on her". Finding common ground with her, they share a few more evenings of "checking in" as a relationship grows between them. Eventually the pressure builds on Susan to divorce her husband but this poses all sorts of problems and Webb starts planning alternatives.

I watched this film without knowing much about it beyond the title; so when the main characters are introduced I really didn't even know if they were the main characters or not, or where the film was going with them. Part of the reason I felt like this was that I didn't think the characters worked and I couldn't get into the relationship between them. From the very start Webb is really creepily overly familiar and pushy and he is this way to the point that I didn't believe that Susan would let him stay in the house. This continued across the whole first half of the film and I never really believed it. Webb occasionally is friendly and normal but as a character he really doesn't have the charisma to sell this intrusion and rapid affair. The character of Susan sort of helps because she is timid, lonely and slightly nervous – so as a dynamic maybe this is why such a pushy guy would make inroads as he does.

The plot gradual turns to darker twists but even at this point I didn't buy it. The actions and motivations of the characters felt like things that were written rather than things that these characters would really do – in particular some of the bigger plot points felt like a matter of moving the story along. The second half is a bit better because events drive the narrative and as such these engage more easily, but it was a shame that the first half was weak because this is the core of the film. The two-hander with Heflin and Keyes should have been as thrilling as the later events but the writing of the characters don't give them the material to work with and neither really nail the relationship dynamics between their characters.

This is the problem with the film and it is one that it never escapes. The central relationship never feels convincing and because this is where all the events stem from, they are built on weak foundations. The events of the second half provide some interest and pace but generally it is not a great film thanks to it not getting the basics right from the start.


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