Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Fear in the Night (1947)

Cornell Woolrich's classic noir story "Nightmare" was first filmed by Maxwell Shane as Fear in the Night in 1947.  The story was also filmed at least twice for television as episodes in Suspense (1950) and in Lights Out (1952).  In 1956, Shane revisited the story, this time filming it as Nightmare with Edward G. Robinson, Kevin McCarthy, and Connie Russell.

Shane directed few films, but wrote many for the screen, including Tokyo Rose, I Cover Big Town, The Mummy's Hand, and both versions of this Woolrich story.  For radio, he wrote many episodes of Big Town; for television, he wrote for M Squad and The Virginian, as well as the teleplay for John Holbrook Vance's Edgar-winning novel The Man in the Cage.

Fear in the Night stared Paul Kelly, a versatile actor with many character roles (Mr. and Mrs. North, Tarzan's New York Adventure, The President Vanishes, Murder with Pictures, etc.) to his credit.  Joining Kelly was a differently spelled Kelley -- a pre-Star Trek DeForest Kelley in his first full-length feature; Kelley went on a long and storied career and appeared in such films as The Law and Jake Wade, Gunfight at OK Corral, and Raintree County before voyaging on the starship Enterprise.  Joining the two Kell(e)ys was veteran Ann Doran, who -- according to IMDB -- appeared in over 500 motion pictures and over 1000 television shows, in many of which she was uncredited.  (Doran started as an uncredited child actress in many silent films; uncredited because she did not want her father to know she was acting.)  Among the movies Doran appeared in were The Snake Pit, The People Against O'Hara, and The Eddie Cantor Story.

And what can be said about Woolrich save that he was one of the great writers of noir in the Twentieth Century.  "Rear Window," The Phantom Lady, The Bride Wore Black, Deadline at Dawn, I Married a Dead Man, "After Dinner Story," "Three O'Clock," Rendezvous in Black...the list goes on and on.

About Fear in the Night, let's just say, be careful what you dream of.


1 comment:

  1. And, somewhat happily, even H'wood hasn't managed to forget him, even if such adaptations as I'M DANGEROUS TONIGHT are getting to be a while back...(a better story than telefilm, but what a surprise, of CW's out and out horror stories).