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The Unholy Four (1954)

The Stranger Came Home (original title)
Approved | | Drama, Mystery | 24 September 1954 (USA)
A man on a fishing trip with three of his friends receives a blow to the head that makes him lose his memory. Three years later it all comes back to him, but on the day it does one of the men who was on the trip with him turns up dead.


Terence Fisher




Cast overview:
Paulette Goddard ... Angie
William Sylvester ... Philip Vickers
Patrick Holt ... Job Crandall
Paul Carpenter Paul Carpenter ... Bill Saul
Alvys Maben Alvys Maben ... Joan Merrill
Russell Napier ... Insp. Treherne
Kay Callard Kay Callard ... Jennie
David King-Wood David King-Wood ... Sessions
Jeremy Hawk ... Sgt. Johnson
Patricia Owens ... Blonde (as Pat Owens)
Jack Taylor Jack Taylor ... Brownie
Kim Mills Kim Mills ... Roddy
Owen Evans Owen Evans ... Redhead
Philip Lennard Philip Lennard ... Medical Examiner


Philip Vickers mysteriously reappears to his wife and friends during a party at her upscale country estate after an absence of four years. He had been presumed dead after he disappeared on a fishing trip in Portugal with three friends. He was knocked unconscious and pushed overboard by an unknown assailant. In the interim, he had suffered from amnesia but now has regained his faculties. All the potential suspects, including his wife, are at the party. When one of them is killed, the police are called in, and suspicion for the crime falls on the vengeful Vickers. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One of you here has committed MURDER! See more »


Drama | Mystery


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Did You Know?


The novel "Stranger At Home" by George Sanders, which this film is based on, was actually ghost-written by Leigh Brackett. An unrelated novel also credited to Sanders, "Crime On My Hands", features Sanders as an amateur detective, similar to his Saint and Falcon characters. That novel was ghost-written by Craig Rice, who wrote two of the Falcon films. See more »


[first lines]
Philip Vickers: [to dog] Hello, Coolin, boy. Hello, old boy. You didn't forget, did you, huh?
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Robin Hood
Composed by Louis Prima and Bob Miketta
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User Reviews

...but he should have stayed away
25 August 2003 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee all my reviews

The most interesting thing about 'A Stranger Came Home' is that it's based on a novel by George Sanders ... yes, I'm reliably informed that this was the well-known character actor of that name, not some other George Sanders. But our favourite cad is nowhere to be seen in this film, and nor is there a "George Sanders role" herein which might suggest that Sanders had written the novel as a vehicle for his own acting talents.

Paulette Goddard (still quite attractive at this late point in her career) stars opposite William Sylvester, best known from '2001: A Space Odyssey'. The rest of the cast in this low-budget 1954 English film are extremely obscure ... and they were obscure even in England in the 1950s.

Goddard plays Angie Vickers, a wealthy American widow who lives on a posh country estate in the Cotswolds. Three years ago, on holiday in Portugal, her husband Philip vanished over the side of their fishing boat, presumed dead. In fact, somebody coshed Philip and pushed him overboard; Philip survived, but with a convenient case of amnesia which prevented him from contacting Angie or the police. Now, three years on, Philip has conveniently regained his memory ... but he doesn't know who tried to kill him. So, he comes back to England (without a passport?) and heads straight for his wife's country home, where (conveniently) she's hosting a party for several guests who just happen to coincide with Philip's list of murder suspects. In sub-Christie fashion, the guests start dying one by one ... but is Philip topping them, or is the original assailant back in business?

'A Stranger Came Home' has lots and lots and LOTS of talk, and very little action. There are some gaping holes in the plot, and some implausible motivations. Much of the photography is a lot darker than it needs to be, without commensurate spookiness. There are passable performances from Alvys Mahen (as a secretary with a grudge, who is an obvious suspect) and from Jeremy Hawk (as a weary cop). The only real point of interest in this film is Paulette Goddard, still quite sexy in 1954 but well past her peak in terms of sex appeal or acting ability. I'll rate this movie 2 points out of 10. Next case!

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Release Date:

24 September 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Unholy Four See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.65 : 1
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