Article 4361 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by William Conrad
Featuring Jeffrey Hunter, Anne Francis, Dana Andrews
What it is: Noirish thriller
A scientist has an affair with a woman who he has saved from suicide; she’s the wife of the man who owns the company for which the scientist works. He wants the woman to leave her husband, but if she does, she will lose custody of her child. The scientist comes up with a foolproof way to kill the husband…
This movie has an intriguing beginning involving a stopped car on the railroad tracks. It then settles down into a typical film noir situation, with one slight exception; the woman, rather than a controlling femme fatale, is actually something of a weak-willed character. It’s not until a ways into the movie when the scientist flips out in the office of a psychiatrist (a memorable scene) that the genre content appears; though not a horror movie, the theme of madness enters the picture, and it becomes more prominent as the movie progresses. The plot that is hatched to kill the husband and get away with it seems pretty novel at first, but as the movie progressed, it became clear to me that we were watching a variation of Samuel Fuller’s movie SHOCK CORRIDOR, so I’ve been here before. Nevertheless, this is an entertaining movie; despite the familiar elements, logic flaws, and some moments that are a bit pat, the acting is very good from all concerned. There’s a memorable cameo from Strother Martin as an inmate of an asylum, and a surprise cameo from Richard Kiel which ends up providing the sole funny moment in the movie. It’s a good, if not great, thriller.