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A Life at Stake (1955)

An out-of-work architect meets a married woman who has a business proposition for him. The architect begins to suspect the woman's interest in him is not just financial and may actually be deadly.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Claudia Barrett ...
Madge Neilan
...
Landlady
...
Charles Maxwell ...
...
Myles Norman
Kathleen Mulqueen ...
Mary
Dan Sturkie ...
Officer Biff
Jeane Wood ...
Robert Haver ...
Mechanic
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Storyline

An out-of-work architect meets a married woman who has a business proposition for him. The architect begins to suspect the woman's interest in him is not just financial and may actually be deadly.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Cheat At Heart From Her Painted Toes To Her Plunging Neckline!

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

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Release Date:

19 September 1955 (UK)  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The unusual convertible Angela Lansbury drives is a Kaiser Darrin. See more »

Quotes

Gus Hillman: Four closets full of clothes and all she ever wears is a bathing suit.
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Connections

Featured in Crime Wave: 50 Movie Mega Pack (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Summer Interlude
By Hank McCune and Les Baxter
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User Reviews

 
Keith Andes Fascinates, Dominating This B/W Thriller--Unusual
15 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

It's no secret that many judge Keith Andes (by the criteria of ethical-emotional normativeness and acting prowess) to be the best actor of the past century. Because of studio politics and poor judgment--the presentation of merely pretty faces who looked good on posters as "stars"--he only played leads in fewer than 10 films; this is a very interesting one I suggest, for several reasons. Andes has been rediscovered by critics and film fans more often than Atlantis; with the exception of 2 "I Spy" episodes where they deliberately denied him the camera to set him up for a defection and future elimination, every part he ever played, by my evaluation, deserved a nomination for best actor at some length of film. Here he plays the interesting part of an architect in a B/W noir thriller. He gradually comes to believe he is going to be killed by his partners once he signs an insurance contract, ostensibly to protect their financial investment in his ability (that alone makes a new project of profitable building possible); and he is fascinating at every moment and professionally superb in a film that give him little to work with; he makes a charismatic triumph out of an underwritten cipher. Opposite him, Douglass Dumbrille is powerful as always as his backer's jealous husband, and Angle Lansbury is attractive bu no match for Andes as a siren who tempts and perhaps threatens him a the same time. As her sister, the interesting young Claudia Barrett does quite well. The serviceable direction by Paul Guilfoyle is taut, the script above average for a "B" B/W film of ant era. This is the sort of film which has seldom been made--a good piece of inexpensive storytelling carried by competent actors. But the focus is on Andes as he goes from boredom in a lonely room to temptation by Lansbury to the gradual realization that he is perhaps being set up for elimination. The violent climax is both surprising, satisfying and visually exciting; and the ending leaves viewers equally satisfied that Andes' character will receive justice, and that he has someone who genuinely cares for him. An underrated thriller that I can unreservedly recommend; I obtained it to see Andes. But this is a good story well told on screen, a true rarity when it was made, and especially in the years of badly acted and special-effects-dominated childish film-making that have been practiced since its mid-1950's release.


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