Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


This 1947 film was based on a William Irish story, "Nightmare".  Irish, of course, was a pen name of Cornell Woolrich, the noir master.  DeForest ("It's worse than that, he's dead, Jim!") Kelley -- in his first feature role -- plays bank employee Vince Grayson, who wakes up from a nightmare with bruises from his "dream" -- a dream in which he murdered a man.  Slowly Vince begins to fear that his dream was reality.

     Also featured in the film was Paul Kelly as Vince's policeman brother-in-law Cliff Herlihy and Ann Doran as Lil Herlihy.  Paul Kelly began his film career at age twelve in 1911, the same year Ann Doran was born.  Ann Doran began her career at age four and appeared in over 500 films and was probably best known for her roles in the television series National Velvet and Longstreet.

     Fear In the Night was directed and scripted by pulpster Maxwell Shane, who revisited (again as director and writer) the story for 1956's Nightmare.  Shane went on to produce and (sometimes write) television's M Squad.

     Reaction to this film is mixed.  Is it a hokey, implausible mess, or is it a dark atmospheric exercise?  You decide.

     For more Overlooked Films and Television, see Todd Mason's blog Sweet Freedom.