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The Prowler (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | 25 May 1951 (USA)
When Susan Gilvray reports a prowler outside her house police officer Webb Garwood investigates and sparks fly. If only her husband wasn't in the way.

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writers:

Robert Thoeren (story), Hans Wilhelm (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Van Heflin ... Webb Garwood
Evelyn Keyes ... Susan Gilvray
John Maxwell ... Bud Crocker
Katherine Warren ... Grace Crocker (as Katharine Warren)
Emerson Treacy ... William Gilvray
Madge Blake ... Martha Gilvray
Wheaton Chambers Wheaton Chambers ... Doctor James
Robert Osterloh ... Coroner
Sherry Hall Sherry Hall ... John Gilvray
Louise Lorimer ... Motel Manager
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Storyline

In a fancy suburb in California, the gorgeous housewife Susan Gilvray finds a prowler outside her house late one night and she calls the police. Officer Webb Garwood and his partner answer the call but do not find anyone. Later Webb returns to Susan's house with the pretext of checking if everything is OK. Susan invites him in to have coffee with her. Webb soon learns that Susan is married to John Gilvray, a middle-aged broadcaster of a late night radio show. They also discover that they are from the same hometown. Webb makes a pass at Susan and even though she tries to put him off they soon start a love affair. When John becomes suspicious Susan ends her relationship with Webb. Though difficult Webb stays away from Susan. Without Susan's knowledge Webb plots a scheme to get rid of John; he simulates a scenario where John is "accidently" shot dead. There is an inquest and it is ruled that John Gilvray's death was not intentional. Webb quits the police-force a job he was never happy ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She had to keep THE PROWLER from telling... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 May 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cost of Living See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Webb Garwood calls his partner "Bud" (Crocker) and this is how the character name appears in the credits. This is apparently a nickname because his wife calls him Charles. See more »

Goofs

When Webb drives out of the ghost town to chase after the doctor, the image is flipped. This may have been done to use previously shot footage but keep screen movement consistent going to and from the ghost town i.e. arriving from right to left and departing from left to right. This manipulation is revealed, and a continuity error created, because Webb is seen from the exterior shot sitting on the right side (of a left-hand drive car) as it drives past, but he is sitting on the correct left side in the very next shot taken from inside the car in the back seat. See more »

Quotes

Webb Garwood: I didn't do it, Susan. I'll swear that by the only thing I ever really loved and that's you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Maltin on Movies: Unknown & Cedar Rapids (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Baby
Lyrics by Dick Mack
Music by Lyn Murray
Sung by Robert Carroll (as Bob Carroll)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
He's certainly NOT your average cop...
17 December 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Webb Garwood (Van Heflin) is NOT your average policeman. After he and his partner respond to a prowler call, they leave....and Officer Garwood returns later. He claims he's just checking in on the woman but it soon is obvious that he is very interested in the pretty, well-heeled lady. At first, she rebuffs his advances...but soon is infatuated with him. The problem is that she is married...and Webb has a plan. You see, he's a master manipulator and his interest in Susan (Evelyn Keyes) is more than just sexual...he knows she has money...money which can help him retire in style! So he hatches a crazy plan to kill the husband...and thus live happily ever after! So what comes of this vicious plan?!

In some ways, this is a good example of film noir--such as the dirty cop, the murder and the affair. But in other ways, it's not quite a typical noir. The camera angles and dark cinematography is missing and the picture is a bit more Hollywood in look than a typical noir. I'd more consider this one noir-lite! This isn't really a complaint...more just an observation about the style of the film.

All in all, this is a very exciting and bleak film. The ending is top-notch and the film one of Heflin's best. Well worth seeing...and oddly not especially well known or formulaic in the least.


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