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Edmond O'Brien was a great actor (classics, films noirs and westerns) ,
and it was a real pleasure to discover him in this rare TV film noir
from "the Dick Powell Show". O'Brien is a violent convict who escapes
by killing his guard. He hides at his brother's place who has wife and
young daughter and tries to get honest. O'Brien uses his brother in a
hold-up with two very bad guys.
This a very tense drama between the two brothers, O'Brien terrorizing the young family. There is a major scene where he imposes strongly his violent domination, wonderfully shot by noir veteran George Diskant. This scene might have been influenced by his experience with Orson Welles.
This tense drama is skillfully directed and co-written (with Morton Fine) by David Friedkin who had already directed in 1957 the very strong "Hot Summer Night" (also co-written with Morton Fine). Morton Fine and David Friedkin have written together since 1949 beginning with the radio shows "Broadway Is My Beat" and "Crime Scenes". Hope to find some more movies directed by David Friedkin (and perhaps again co-written with Morton Fine). Friedkin was also a fine producer (and co-writer with Morton Fine for "The Pawnbroker" directed by Sidney Lumet.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"A Killer in the House" is a 1961 episode from the "Dick Powell Show." Edmond O'Brien headlines as a brutal thug on the run. He has killed a prison guard during a breakout and needs somewhere to lay low. He hitch hikes across the country in order to get to his younger brother's place. His brother, Earl Holliman, is a one time crook who has turned over a new leaf. He has went straight, gotten married, has a child with another on the way. He wants no trouble. Holliman knows O'Brien is bad news and tells him he can only stay the one day. Of course we know nothing good is going to come from O'Brien's visit. Wallace Ford, who plays Holliman's parole officer, stops by on his monthly visit. He soon discovers that Holliman is reluctantly hiding escapee O'Brien. Ford heads to town to grab the cops while at the same time a car with several of O'Briens old gang arrive. They plan to hold up the place where Holliman works and take the payroll safe. Holliman tells his brother to get stuffed. O'Brien simply nods at Holliman's wife and child and smiles. Holliman gets the implication, he helps his brother or else. Needless to say everything heads down hill rapidly and violence erupts. Several baddies go for the deep six before all is settled. O'Brien is great as the murdering low-life swine. Holliman is also good as the brother who just wanted a new life and family. This is one tense hour long thrill ride!!!! The episode was directed by vet television helmsman David Friedkin. What gives the episode a nice dark look is that the d of p is George Diskant. His noir include, Desperate, Riffraff, They Live By Night, Port of New York, The Racket, Narrow Margin and On Dangerous Ground. This is the second time i caught this little gem. Loved it!
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