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The Night Holds Terror (1955)

 -  Crime | Drama | Film-Noir  -  13 July 1955 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 186 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 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 ...
Roy Neal ...
TV News Broadcaster
Joel Marston ...
Guy Kingsford ...
Police Technician


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


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


See all certifications »




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  »

Did You Know?


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


The front license plate on the villains' car disappears and reappears between scenes throughout the film. For instance, when Gene and the villains leave the bar and Gene's narration specifically points out the villains made sure he didn't see their license plate (they made him wear taped glasses) as they walk past the front of the car, there is no license plate on the car, but moments later at the railroad crossing, it's there again. See more »


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

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User Reviews

Not Even the Suburbs are Safe
9 September 2007 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Gritty little suspenser that holds interest throughout. Writer-director Andrew Stone's and wife Virginia's reputation rests on a documentary-style approach to film-making. Making a movie about people on board a sinking ship?-- then sink an actual ship, The Last Voyage (1958). I believe it was Andrew Sarris who observed that it was a good thing they never made a film about the end of the world!

There's a lot of that documentary approach in this low-budgeter taken from an actual kidnapping case of the period. Kidnapping was much in the news in 1953 with the sensational abduction for ransom of little Bobby Greenlease, of Kansas City, I believe. And, of course, then as now, screen-writers love to chase the headlines of the day. So it's no surprise that several of these plot-lines turned up at about the same time, including the rather eerie Big House, USA (1955).

Here the screenplay recreates the abduction of the offspring of a wealthy LA-area family, Gene Couture. What makes the movie work is the inspired casting (probably a happy accident) that brings together three fast-rising young actors-- a sullen Vince Edwards, a moody John Cassavetes, and an appealing Jack Kelly as the victim. You really get the feeling from the former two-- who look edgy and act even edgier-- that anything can happen at any time. Together as the lead abductors, they're little short of the proverbial dynamite. When they take Kelly into the desert, you get the feeling he's a dead duck for sure.

Then too, the Stone's insistence on real suburban locations lends the proceedings a look and feel different from the usual. The procedural part gets kind of draggy as the cops enter the case and was likely inspired by the police mega-hit of the day, Dragnet. But at least it's consistent with the over-all documentary tone. Some buffs see the movie as noir. I don't, taking it instead as a particularly effective example of the "home invasion" genre that was also popular at the time. But however you cut it, this is still a darn good little 90 minute nail-biter.

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