17 user 9 critic

The Girl in Black Stockings (1957)

A party girl is murdered, and everyone at a Utah motel is a suspect.


Howard W. Koch


Richard H. Landau (screenplay) (as Richard Landau), Peter Godfrey (story "Wanton Murder")

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lex Barker ... David Hewson
Anne Bancroft ... Beth Dixon
Mamie Van Doren ... Harriet Ames
Ron Randell ... Edmund Parry
Marie Windsor ... Julia Parry
John Dehner ... Sheriff Jess Holmes
John Holland ... Norman Grant
Diana Van der Vlis ... Louise Miles (as Diana Vandervlis)
Richard H. Cutting ... Dr. John Aitkin (as Richard Cutting)
Larry Chance ... Indian Joe
Gene O'Donnell Gene O'Donnell ... Joseph Felton
Gerald Frank Gerald Frank ... Frankie Pierce
Karl MacDonald Karl MacDonald ... Deputy Fred
Norman Leavitt ... Amos
Stuart Whitman ... Prentiss


Near a small Utah town, visiting lawyer David Hewson finds the slashed body of party girl Marcia Morgan, his fellow tenant at Parry Lodge. Sheriff Jess Holmes considers everyone at the motel a suspect, even owner Edmund Parry, a woman hater who is quadriplegic...or is he? While Holmes investigates and the suspects try to hide mutual fears, the killer strikes again... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

motel | utah | sheriff | lodge | whodunit | See All (24) »


She's every inch a teasing, taunting "Come-on" Blonde. See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

24 September 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Stockings See more »

Filming Locations:

Kanab, Utah, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bel-Air Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Working title: "Black Stockings" See more »


Sheriff Jess Holmes: I don't have to be crazy to know I have a real crazy one on my hands.
See more »


Featured in Bikers, Blondes and Blood (1993) See more »


Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550
1st Movement (Molto Allegro)
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

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User Reviews

Doing my duty and warning away any who would be foolish enough to make the mistake I made
9 June 2011 | by GangsteroctopusSee all my reviews

It's astounding how many reviewers here have given this either high marks for being a well-made film noir(-ish) murder-mystery, or for it's high camp value. DO NOT BE FOOLED: this movie doesn't qualify on either the level of basic competence, or on the so-bad-it's-good scale. It's just plain bad, in every way imaginable.

But let's get something else out of the way first: for those who want to claim a 'Twin Peaks' connection for this film (which is the reason I was curious about it, initially), such an assertion is basically a bunch of garbage, grasping at less than even tenuous similarities and standard murder-mystery tropes. A girl is murdered. It occurs in a small town. There's an Indian/Native American. And a sawmill. THAT'S IT. David Lynch and Mark Frost did not rip this movie off - and I say that as someone who's not even much of a 'Twin Peaks' fan.

Okay, now that we've cleared that up, what about the film itself? You know it's gonna be bad from the very first lines of dialogue exchanged between Lex Barker and young Anne Bancroft. It's the kind of meaningless, pseudo-hip banter that has zero meaning and makes you want to slap the screenwriter, tell him, "Try writing some words that sound like they might come out of the mouth of an actual human being, you hack!"

But the main problem (one of MANY problems) is that no one seems to take the murder particularly seriously. Basically John Dehner just sort of wanders around, occasionally asking locals somewhat germane questions, but mostly just gossiping, catching up on their relationship woes, chitty-chat. This dumb-a** couldn't solve the mystery of who put the cookie in the cookie jar.

And then there's the guy who owns the motel, the psychologically paralyzed (say what..?) guy who basically sits around (well, he can't do much else, I guess) spouting off some of the most hate-filled, vile, misogynistic bile that you're likely to hear outside of a lockerroom. Now, initially, you think, 'Hunh. That's something of a twist: not romanticizing this character, or trying to make him this sympathetic type' - the way they almost always try to do with pretty much any disabled person in movies and on TV, even nowadays. But after about 30 seconds of this guy, you'll change your mind and start hoping that when Anne Bancroft and Marie Windsor take him in the pool for some hydrotherapy that they'll both get phone calls and leave him to make out on the bottom with the Creepy Crawly. (Okay, I know that they didn't have those back them, but you get the point.)

Who the hell would stay at this lodge? There's a common dining room, or restaurant, and every night the customers have to share it with this wheelchair-bound a-hole, watching him get drunk and rave about how much he despises the fairer sex. Yeah, THAT's what I want for dinner theater. How did this guy get into the lodging business, when all he does is bitch about how running this inn puts him into constant contact with the very species for which he is so overflowing with hatred? Like so much in this film (just wait until you hear Lex Barker's 'explanation' for the murderer's motives at the end of the film), it MAKES NO SENSE.

And not just that - IT'S BORING! Apparently director Howard Koch told all of his actors to pause for several seconds between each line of dialogue, to savor the 'richness' of drivel they're all spouting (I've never heard so many words used to express so little); or maybe the heat or the altitude made them all punchy. It's bad enough that we, the viewers, don't care what's being said, but when the actors all sound like they're on Quaaludes...Never has 74 minutes passed so slowly, so excruciatingly.

I will say that, as someone who loves the '50s as a design era, the Parry Lodge (and the adjoining boutique, the Pink Poodle) are pretty cool to look at; the fact that they shot this stinker on location is about the only thing this movie has going for it, although it also means that the Kanab Chamber of Commerce gets in a number of blatant promos for local businesses and sights. But apart from my interest in the era, this one is a complete and total loser.

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