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Beware, My Lovely (1952)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 29 August 1952 (USA)
A psychopath takes a job as a handyman at the house of a lonely widow.

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(screenplay), (story "The Man") | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Mr. Walter Armstrong
...
Ruth Williams
James Willmas ...
Mr. Stevens
...
Mr. Franks
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Storyline

Helen Gordon hires Howard Wilton as a handyman to do chores around her house. She doesn't know what she's let herself in for. Insecure and paranoid, Wilton thinks everyone, including Helen, is against him. He suffers from memory lapses and extreme mood swings. She's soon a prisoner in her own house after Wilton locks the doors and tears out the telephone. His mood swings from violence to complacency but after Helen gets a message to the police via a telephone repairman, she finds he is still in the house. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Trapped by a man beyond control!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

29 August 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Day Without End  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This story was later redone in 1960 on the NBC TV series "Startime," titled "The Man" (the name of the 1950 Mel Dinelli play the movie was based on) it starred Thelma Ritter and Audie Murphy. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene, the murder victim blinks. See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Grindhouse (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Deck the Halls
(uncredited)
Traditional Christmas carol, lyrics by Thomas Oliphant
The neighborhood children are singing the song in Helen's parlor
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User Reviews

 
Beware Of Strangers
18 July 2001 | by See all my reviews

Beware, My Lovely is an experimental studio film from the early fifties and was directed by a man, Harry Horner, better known for his set designs. Robert Ryan plays a handyman who is hired by Ida Lupino to do some housework for her. The problem is that he is a psychopathic murderer and doesn't know it. Miss Lupino is an empathetic soul and tries to win Ryan over, to little avail. He is not the sort of man compassion could help or cure. Thus we have an interesting situation of two people who basically mean well, but one of them can't do well because there is something wrong with him. He suffers periodic blackouts during which he commits acts of violence, which he later forgets.

Essentially the effect Ryan has on Lupino is that of the hunter and his prey, or in another sense a sadist. The audience finds out early on that Ryan is a mad killer, but it takes Lupino much longer. Thus we must live with this knowledge as we watch poor Miss Lupino try everything in her power to 'win' Ryan over in order to make things work, get the job done, get on with life. But getting on with things isn't in Ryan's makeup, as he is incapable of any but the most rudimentary forms of normality, and as soon as there is an opening his paranoia asserts itself.

As a study in mental illness the movie isn't too impressive. What it's superlative at is showing the effect of major mental illness, with dangerous psychopathology in the mix, and its effect on a normal person. In this regard the film is realistic and compassionate, though relentlessly logical in that we know Lupino can't 'fix' Ryan, yet we want her to. The result is that, if one is willing, one can get extremely involved in this film emotionally if one can put aside, so to speak, its melodramatic structure.

Horner shows us, gradually, the layout the Lupino house , a forbidding gothic monstrosity that never feels like a home. We become familiar with staircase, kitchen and pantry; and we come to know which windows Miss Lupino can use for an escape and which ones she can't.


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