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The Prowler (1951)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,272 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 25 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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Title: The Prowler (1951)

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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

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She had to keep THE PROWLER from telling... See more »


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Details

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Release Date:

3 December 1951 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Cost of Living  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Novelist James Ellroy ("L.A. Confidential", "The Black Dahlia") once called this his favorite film and described it as "a masterpiece of sexual creepiness, institutional corruption and suffocating, ugly passion." See more »

Goofs

The first time the police ring the doorbell at the Gilvray house, the sound of the bell is not heard. The next two times the bell is rung, the sound of the bell is heard. See more »

Connections

Featured in Kika (1993) 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

 
This gris world is pure noir
9 May 2008 | by (NYC suburbs) – See all my reviews

Patrolman Webb Garwood (Van Heflin), called to the upscale home of a late night radio DJ to investigate a reported prowler, covets the man's wife (Evelyn Keyes) and lifestyle and proceeds, through seduction, manipulation, and murder, to attain them with ironic results...

Alain Silver, in his "Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference To The American Style", notes that "like most of Losey's American films, THE PROWLER is concerned with complex social issues, which make it marginal to the film noir series." I couldn't agree more that using Film Noir to enlighten dilutes the dark universe the cycle represents but in this case that's a moot point. THE PROWLER doesn't examine social issues, complex or otherwise, and isn't an indictment of America in the mid-twentieth century as much as it is an expose of modern life itself with all its banality and dull aspiration. Better yet, there are no explanations, causes, or, thankfully, remedies offered for the ultimately empty American Dream. Existentially, there's no escape for the outwardly normal anti-hero who is, ironically, a psychopath sworn to "protect and serve" the very ideals he doesn't share. Lonely housewives in unhappy marriages, failed dreams of stardom and college scholarships, soulless ambition for mediocre achievement hidden beneath deceptive outward appearances, and hopes for a future (linked to a motor court) that isn't much better than the past or present all serve to point up the futility of upward mobility. In a bitter irony, Garwood has perverted the American dream but, once attained, that very dream becomes inverted and its ultimate reward (creating a family) proves his undoing. That the birth takes place in a desert ghost town perfectly illustrates a wasteland where everyone is either unfeeling, unsuspecting or dull-witted ...and everything's nothing, really. In its depiction of a monotonous, gray world, THE PROWLER is pure Film Noir and Joseph Losey skillfully conveyed the often pervasive sense of dissatisfaction and ennui with bourgeoisie life but, because of his off screen politics, the film was unfairly tarred with the same brush that derailed the director's career in Hollywood.


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