6.7/10
638
25 user 6 critic

Shadow on the Wall (1950)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 19 May 1950 (USA)
A woman kills her beautiful sister in a rage after finding out she has an affair with her fiancé, and later plans on killing the little girl who may have witnessed the murder.

Director:

Pat Jackson

Writers:

Lawrence P. Bachmann (story "Death in the Doll's House"), Hannah Lees (story "Death in the Doll's House") | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ann Sothern ... Dell Faring
Zachary Scott ... David I. Starrling
Gigi Perreau ... Susan Starrling
Nancy Reagan ... Dr. Caroline Canford (as Nancy Davis)
Kristine Miller ... Celia Starrling
John McIntire ... Pike Ludwell
Tom Helmore ... Crane Weymouth
Helen Brown Helen Brown ... Miss Burke
Barbara Billingsley ... Olga
Marcia Van Dyke ... Secretary
Anthony Sydes Anthony Sydes ... Bobby
Jimmy Hunt ... Boy
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Storyline

Angered that her sister Celia has stolen her fiance, Dell Faring kills her and allows Celia's husband David, knocked out in an argument with Celia, to take the blame and end up on death row. Later Dell, finding out that David's young daughter Susan was witness to the crime and is undergoing psychiatric treatment, plans to eliminate her before her memory returns. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Some women will stop at nothing!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 May 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Drohende Schatten See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first woman seen is a maid, Olga, who is played by none other than "The Beaver's" mother, Barbara Billingsly! See more »

Goofs

At 59:08 the second nurse (uncredited extra) escorting the children out of the children's ward is looking and smiling directly at the camera. This doesn't appear to be intentional on the part of the Director. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Caroline Canford: Bad dreams are a way of pretending things didn't happen.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

MGM Playing Catch Up
6 February 2009 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Unheralded little thriller with a number of nice touches. Little Gigi Perreau (Susan) has the pivotal role and comes through beautifully. If we don't identify with her or her emotional trauma, the movie doesn't work. Fortunately, we do. The movie scared the heck out of me as a boy, mainly because I was viewing the menace through the eyes of my peer, little Susan. Still, it's the movie's ability to engage even adults through Susan's eyes that drives the suspense. For the little girl, it's an adult world only dimly comprehended that one night turns so shockingly ugly, she must repress it totally. Nancy Davis Reagan-- perhaps surprisingly for many viewers-- is very persuasive as the doctor helping Susan to recover.

Looks like this was another B-movie from MGM's Dore Schary period when he was refashioning the studio's star-studded image. The under-rated Scott and Sothern are certainly playing against type, he as a kind-hearted father, she as a cold-hearted murderess. Oddly, the screenplay shares focus among these four players instead of centralizing one or two as is usually the case. In terms of actual screen time, it's probably Nancy Davis's movie, though she was likely too unknown to get star billing. Then too, whatever happened to Kristine Miller as Scott's faithless wife. She certainly looks the part and acts it wickedly.

Speaking of talented unknowns, director Pat Jackson put this neat little package together. His career appears a rather brief one, mainly in England, where he also directed several episodes of the cult TV series, The Prisoner. Too bad he disappeared so quickly, because there are a number of nice directorial touches here. Note Pike's (John McIntire) shadow engulfing Dell (Sothern) at movie's end indicating the retribution to come; the blurry special effects mirroring little Susan's traumatized mental state; the suggestive hair-drier closing over Dell's head like an electrocution helmet; the great noirish shot of Dell framed against ominous skyscrapers suggesting dark powers looming over Susan. Anyway, this all adds up to a very effective little thriller, proving that even though late to the party, MGM could B- movie with the best of them.


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