6.5/10
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55 user 9 critic

Cause for Alarm! (1951)

An invalid husband wrongly believes his wife and doctor are conspiring to kill him and outlines that suspicion in a letter, which causes a serious concern when he ends up dying anyway.

Director:

Tay Garnett

Writers:

Mel Dinelli (screenplay), Tom Lewis (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Loretta Young ... Ellen Jones
Barry Sullivan ... George Z. Jones
Bruce Cowling ... Dr. Ranney Grahame
Margalo Gillmore ... Mrs. Edwards
Brad Morrow ... Hoppy - Billy (as Bradley Mora)
Irving Bacon ... Mr. Carston - Postman
Georgia Backus ... Mrs. Warren
Don Haggerty ... Mr. Russell
Art Baker ... Superintendent
Richard Anderson ... Lonesome Sailor
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Storyline

Invalid George Jones is both physically and mentally ill. He mistakenly believes his wife Ellen and his doctor are having an affair and also planning to kill him. He writes a letter to his lawyer detailing their alleged murder plot. After he has Ellen give the letter to their postman, he reveals its contents to her and then threatens her with a gun. The excitement proves to much and George suffers a fatal collapse. Now Ellen must find a way to retrieve the incriminating letter. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This Girl Is In Danger! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 August 1951 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

Grund zur Aufregung See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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

Was shot in a very short period of time and rehearsed the same way that Loretta Young's television show, The Loretta Young Show (1953), would be rehearsed several years later See more »

Quotes

George Z. Jones: Ummm... my head.
Ellen Jones: Is your head bothering you?
George Z. Jones: Terribly... both of them.
Ellen Jones: Would you like me to rub it for you?
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Connections

Referenced in Three's Company: Out on a Limb (1983) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Disappointing 'domestic' noir
28 September 2000 | by FilmFlaneurSee all my reviews

There are several things wrong with Cause for Alarm, all of which contribute to a less than satisfying experience. Loretta Young is, to put bluntly, completely unconvincing as the wife of Barry Sullivan. Her attempts at portraying panic and something approaching a nervous breakdown just make her seem weak minded and vague. This is a role that would have suited a noir queen like Ida Lupino who can sustain a level of acting and intensity entirely suitable to this kind of plot. Sullivan, by contrast, gives his usual excellent performance - as far as it can extend given the inadequate script.

Another problem with this film is the storyline. Sullivan's descent into paranoia is too abrupt, too blunt to be really convincing or effective. During the flashback there are hints of a darkness in his soul and a cruelty, one which his future wife Eleen is entirely unaware of. Suddenly we are asked to attribute his mania to an overdose of heart medicine. This inconsistency is illogical, detracting from the menace established by his character in the early scenes.

On the plus side, a noir set in and around the home (and especially the home that isn't that of a policeman, as in say The Big Heat) is a good idea, with a lot of potential. The kitchen or the living room can be just as dangerous and claustrophobic as the mean streets outside. It's a shame that the Jones' home is not made more of as a source of menace. Sullivan's suspicions initially seem promising but he dies too quickly and make his accusations to easily to really satisfy.

The standouts in the cast is Irving Bacon as the pedantic postman. His beautifully fussy performance, a finely honed affair of self importance and wariness, almost make the rest worth sitting through... In short Cause for Alarm is no real cause for celebration. A shame, especially as Garnett also directed the classic The Postman Always Rings Twice.


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