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The Prowler (1951)

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


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


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


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Release Date:

3 December 1951 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Cost of Living  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The radio announcer heard throughout the film is actually the voice of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who wrote the film under the pseudonym, Hugo Butler. See more »


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 »


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


Lyrics by Dick Mack
Music by Lyn Murray
Sung by Robert Carroll (as Bob Carroll)
See more »

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User Reviews

Tense low-budget thriller has its moments...scary performance from Van Heflin...
7 August 2012 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

The most unsettling thing about THE PROWLER is the way Van Heflin inhabits the role of a corrupt police officer who worms his way into the life of an innocent woman (Evelyn Keyes), a bored housewife trapped in a loveless marriage with a jealous older man.

From the very first scene, we know that Heflin is going to set a trap for this woman and that eventually she'll succumb to his dubious charm merely to break the cycle of loneliness she's used to. The plot sustains interest up until the cliffhanger of an ending in which all hell breaks loose.

But along the way, there are several glaring faults in the script. Keyes falls in love much too quickly, needing him at her side so desperately that he concocts an accidental shooting to get rid of her hubby. And from then on, her motivations for lying at the inquest are shaky, to say the least. Credibility begins to slip as we lurch toward a very effective ending which won't be revealed here.

In the meantime, the performances are professional, with John Maxwell excellent as a loyal friend and Wheaton Chambers fine as a reluctant doctor. Joseph Losey gets all the suspense he can out of the script, but in the end the bleak low-key photography and sparse sets gives it the feel of a hurried programmer rather than an A-film.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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