43 user 7 critic

Beware, My Lovely (1952)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 29 August 1952 (USA)
A psychopath on the run takes a job as a handyman at the house of a lonely war widow.


Harry Horner


Mel Dinelli (screenplay), Mel Dinelli (story "The Man") | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Ida Lupino ... Mrs. Helen Gordon
Robert Ryan ... Howard Wilton
Taylor Holmes ... Mr. Walter Armstrong
Barbara Whiting ... Ruth Williams
James Willmas James Willmas ... Mr. Stevens
O.Z. Whitehead ... Mr. Franks


Helen Gordon hires Howard Wilton as a handyman to do chores around her house. She doesn't know what she's let herself in for. Insecure and paranoid, Wilton thinks everyone, including Helen, is against him. He suffers from memory lapses and extreme mood swings. She's soon a prisoner in her own house after Wilton locks the doors and tears out the telephone. His mood swings from violence to complacency but after Helen gets a message to the police via a telephone repairman, she finds he is still in the house. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Trapped by a man beyond control!


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This story was later redone in 1960 as Startime: The Man (1960) (the name of the 1950 Mel Dinelli play the movie was based on) it starred Thelma Ritter and Audie Murphy. See more »


When Howard Wilton leans against the front door after having been laughed at by Ruth, the large shadow of the microphone is visible on the door and slowly gets out of the shot. See more »


Howard Wilton: Mrs. Gordon...
Mrs. Helen Gordon: Yes?
Howard Wilton: Have I done anything to hurt you?
Mrs. Helen Gordon: No. Of course you haven't.
Howard Wilton: I'm glad. Because I wouldn't want to hurt you. But I might, you know.
Mrs. Helen Gordon: I don't believe that. You're just not feeling well, that's all.
Howard Wilton: [haltingly] You don't know what it means... like I do... to find myself in the... middle of a room... the middle of a busy street... or in some house I'm working in. A thing like that happens, I wonder where I am... what I'm doing. And sometimes I'm... I'm looking down at someone... ...
See more »


Remade as Un homme dans la maison (1962) See more »


Deck the Halls
Traditional Christmas carol, lyrics by Thomas Oliphant
The neighborhood children are singing the song in Helen's parlor
See more »

User Reviews

A confined and tense story made very engaging by great performances from Ryan and Lupino
27 March 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Howard Wilton is a troubled man, driven by an anger he can barely control far less understand and plagued by blackouts and spells of amnesia. Finding a dead body in his pantry, he flees the scene and boards a train to continue his nomadic life. He takes a job at the home of widower Helen Gordon as a cleaner but soon finds himself feeling mocked and judged by Helen and others. When he breaks loose, Howard holds Helen in the house, with her fearing for her life from this irrational stranger.

I was attracted to this film because the title suggested a tough detective film noir – something that was backed up by the description of the film as such on this very site. Very quickly though I realised that this was down to some people's assumption that anything that is black and white and tough gets called a "noir" but I was not disappointed because this domestic thriller is driven by two very good performances. The film starts well with Howard quickly being marked out as unbalanced at best as he runs in fear and disgust from the very crime that he has committed; it isn't long before we see this end result starting to develop again in his new house. The plot is simple in this regard but it is the delivery that keeps it tense, with the confines of the house adding to the feeling of claustrophobia and lack of an escape route. It isn't outstanding stuff but what makes it work as well as it did was a pair of strong performances from the famous lead actors.

Ryan has the hammy role but manages to play it just right, delivering the complex character well while also convincing me that he could neither explain or control what he was doing. Lupino is as good as always and it is her palatable fear and confinement that gripped me and really made me buy into it. The support cast are ample but really Ryan and Lupino are hardly off the screen and it is the film's strength that they are all that it needs to do the job.

Overall this is not the film I was expecting but it was still very enjoyable and effective. The story is mainly kept within the house, upping the tension and the story is well delivered by two strong performances that make the film well worth seeing.

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Release Date:

29 August 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Day Without End See more »

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Company Credits

Production Co:

The Filmakers See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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