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The Night Holds Terror (1955)

6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 195 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 2 critic

A group of escaped convicts take over a suburban home to evade the ongoing police manhunt, making the lives of the family living there a nightmare. The longer the men stay there, the more ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Gene Courtier
Hildy Parks ...
Doris Courtier
...
Victor Gosset
...
Robert Batsford
David Cross ...
Luther Logan
Eddie Marr ...
Captain Cole (as Edward Marr)
...
Detective Pope
Joyce McCluskey ...
Phyllis Harrison
Jonathan Hale ...
Bob Henderson
Barney Phillips ...
Stranske
Roy Neal ...
TV News Broadcaster
Joel Marston ...
Reporter
Guy Kingsford ...
Police Technician
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Storyline

A group of escaped convicts take over a suburban home to evade the ongoing police manhunt, making the lives of the family living there a nightmare. The longer the men stay there, the more the tensions build and the more likely it becomes a tragedy will occur. Based on a real-life hostage-taking. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Three young, empty-eyed killers, without mercy or morals, turn a private home into a house of horror! See more »


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 July 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Nacht ist voller Schrecken  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on a true story that happened in February 1953. See more »

Goofs

In the extended scene where the John Cassavetes character is in a telephone booth inside the Thrifty Drug Store, a member of the camera crew's reflection can be easily seen on the glass side throughout. See more »

Connections

Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Weak depiction of a terrifying criminal act of kidnapping
5 June 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Night Holds Terror (1955)

There is no way to simply watch this film as a straight drama and not see all the holes in it. But there is also no way to miss the remarkable strengths, from a true-crime story with chilling consequences to an early look at several actors who would later have huge careers.

Foremost of these for film fans is John Cassavetes, who made lots of films and t.v. appearances in the 1950s before his first directorial success in 1959 (with "Shadows"). Not to be confused with the son, born that year. Cassavetes later made the intense "Woman under the Influence" and appeared in "Rosemary's Baby," and here he is in his youth playing a common thug in a common movie. And perhaps stealing the show even though his part is intermittent.

Vince Edwards of course later became the one and only Ben Casey, televisions premier doctor for years. He's creepy here and not a great talent. The main "good" guy and victim here is a small time actor, Jack Kelly, and he's less than convincing though he's supposed to play a regular guy caught up in a criminal nightmare. Even more unconvincing, I suppose, is his wife, though her hysteria and overacting is probably not so far off the mark. The rest of the cast is reasonable, and functional.

So the story rules. It's a cruel, detailed, and apparently accurate tale of innocently picking up a hitchhiker and having it all go wrong. Some police procedures are detailed, especially phone tapping and tracing calls the old way, wire by wire. Fascinating side stuff.

The director and writer and producer and etc is Andrew Stone, who made a number of very low budget films like this, typically filmed on location and using little known actors. His wife Virginia teamed up with him on these, and they are one of the many small level results of the breakup of Hollywood and the rise of television in the 1950s, creating crisis and opportunity equally. His second to last film is probably his biggest, "Song of Norway" in 1970.

"The Night Holds Terror" is what it is, straight shooting and fairly horrifying, but held back by some common issues of acting and directing.


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