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A wealthy woman is terrorized by recurring dreams regarding her jealous, blind husband who supposedly burned to death in a recent fire. She tries to convince her attorney that the nightmares are real. Written by
Without a shadow of a doubt, screenwriter/novelist Robert Bloch (1917 - 1994) will always be best remembered for the 1960 film that made Alfred Hitchcock a household name: "Psycho"; and young Janet Leigh played what small part she had, in The Bates Motel, to the hilton.
But the four-years-after thriller, "The Night Walker", which starred an actress who'd already been a star for more than a decade had a story line that haunted its lady in distress, rather than having her killed off after one scream.
Irene Trent (Barbara Stanwyck) was a troubled woman from the very start--having nightmares that seemed so real, she didn't know the meaning of the word "reality"; and having a literally-blind, eccentric husband (Hayden Rorke)--who was so demanding of her, that we might as well have wished she got away with murder.
Enter her lawyer and supposed friend, Barry Moreland (Robert Taylor) and a very overbearing "dream lover", (Lloyd Bochner), and you've got the formula for a workable "B" grade drama which, however predictable it might seem, isn't going to be very predictable at all. Throughout the entire story, there's a very gradual, even-paced sort of building-up-of-the-plot.
Had Alfred Hitchcock been handed this script, he'd probably have put in a subtle common-thread of humor. And, too, he'd probably have put himself in a cameo shot, in one scene or other. (Which scene that would've been would be anyone's guess: an observer at the wax figure wedding? Maybe he'd have himself under a hair dryer at Irene's beauty salon.)
But there was no room for that sort of thing, here. The story moved along on an even keel. Even by the time Irene had the final piece of her personal life's puzzle in place, the way the very final scene was to pan out was anything but predictable.
William Castle did one royal job, here, for insomniacs everywhere, for many generations to come.
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