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John Barrington escapes from an asylum for the criminally-insane and finds refuge on the ranch of turkey-raiser Ezra Thompson. Barrington, who has suffered from amnesia, finds his memory returning slightly and he sets out on his mission of learning the truth about whether or not he really murdered his sweetheart and is actually insane. He goes to Los Angeles to visit his oldest-and-best friend, psychiatrist David Dunbar, who was a witness to Barrington's crime. Dunbar repeats his story to Barrington, convinces Barrington that he did commit the crime, and then betrays him to the police. However, Thompson, Connie Carter and others are not totally convinced of Barrington's guilt. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
This is probably best described as a psychological thriller, although, it does not have too many thrills. It does have a trio of lead characters that are fun to watch. John Ireland (Hero or Villain?), Mercedes McCambridge (Sexy Girl who's not as tough as she thinks) and Ezra Thompson (cynical desert hermit who's not as cynical as he thinks)give delightful and skillful performances.
There's nice cinematography and good direction here. The dialog is generally clever and snappy. The musical score works well to accent the scenes with a sense of humor and some suspense.
The narrative could have been a little tighter. The relationship of Ireland and McCambridge takes a long time to define. The first 3/4ths of the film moves rather slowly, and the final 1/4 of the film seems too quick with too many twists. There are plot holes that stand out much more now than they probably did in 1951. For example, how did they know that Mercedes' laughing would set off the bad guy and cause him to reveal himself. Still, it is no more gimmicky than "Spellbound" or other Hitchcock psychological crime stories of the period.
If you're a fan of the 1950's-60's television show "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" you'll probably enjoy this film a lot.
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