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The Prowler (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | 25 May 1951 (USA)
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:
Katherine Warren ...
Grace Crocker (as Katharine Warren)
Martha Gilvray
Wheaton Chambers ...
Sherry Hall ...
John Gilvray


In a fancy suburb in California, the gorgeous housewife Susan Gilvray finds a prowler outside her house late one night and she calls the police. Officer Webb Garwood and his partner answer the call but do not find anyone. Later Webb returns to Susan's house with the pretext of checking if everything is OK. Susan invites him in to have coffee with her. Webb soon learns that Susan is married to John Gilvray, a middle-aged broadcaster of a late night radio show. They also discover that they are from the same hometown. Webb makes a pass at Susan and even though she tries to put him off they soon start a love affair. When John becomes suspicious Susan ends her relationship with Webb. Though difficult Webb stays away from Susan. Without Susan's knowledge Webb plots a scheme to get rid of John; he simulates a scenario where John is "accidently" shot dead. There is an inquest and it is ruled that John Gilvray's death was not intentional. Webb quits the police-force a job he was never happy ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


WHAT woman would welcome THE PROWLER. See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 May 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cost of Living  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


Webb tells Susan the birth of their baby will increase the ghost town's population by 33-1/3%. The birth will increase the population by 50% because the population will go from two to three. See more »


Webb Garwood: I couldn't bring myself to touch a gun again as long as I live.
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)
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User Reviews

No Happy Endings
13 May 2013 | by See all my reviews

Not widely seen for Years, this newly Restored Film-Noir has not disappointed Fans and is now considered a Strong Entry in the Genre.

Due to some effectively heavy Indictments about Capitalism and Class Envy. There is also an "Out of Wedlock" Pregnancy, not just Hinted at but is dead Central to the Plot . Add on top of that there's the Peeping Tom Perversion, and things are Not like a Normal Night at the Cinema.

It has Strong, deeply Flawed Characters caught in their own Web of Adultery, Greed, and Lust. The Doomed Couple try and Escape the confines of the City as Their Fate Propels Them for wide Open Spaces and even though the attempt is to avoid Persecution and Prosecution, They End up in a cave-like mining shaft that certainly will allow No Breathing Room.

This may not be as Stylish as some Noirs but it makes up for it with a Bleak Sociological Tone and a Somber, Desperate Pair of Lovers. The Tension never lets up and there are only very brief Moments of Reprieve.

The Newlyweds have No Future, just like the Director (Losey) and Screenwriter (Trumbo) who were either Blacklisted at the Time or soon to be. There were few happy endings in the HUAC Witch Hunt and Film-Noir.

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