The Prowler has been sat, patiently waiting for me to get on with it. Nearly started it a few times but knew I was really going to enjoy this one, so I was happy to wait till it was the perfect time. Knowing it was directed by Joseph Losey, who hits more times than not and being even more psyched by the two stars, Evelyn Keyes and Van Heflin.
Evelyn Keyes helped push 99 River Street to top of the class for me, with her stellar performance as cabbie John Payne’s thespian friend. And Van Heflin’s talent, delivered a vulnerable former army officer being chased down by terminator like, Robert Ryan, in the superb Act Of Violence. Yep it’s an understatement to say I was very excited to watch The Prowler.
Evelyn plays Susan Gilvray a young lonely housewife, living alone as her husband works the nightshift, spinning tunes and chatting the late hours away on the airwaves of the local radio station. Susan is pretty carefree, quite happy to bathe with the curtains open, so the breeze will cool her down in the summer night. Her actions unfortunately bring some undesirable attention in the form of a peeping tom, a prowler in the back garden, seeking a free, voyeuristic look.
Tagline – Watch out for THE PROWLER
With a scream, the weirdo makes a run for it and a phone call later, the police are searching the property. One older, getting ready for retirement, officer Bud Crocker (John Maxwell) and his younger partner, officer Webb Garwood (Van Heflin). Both aren’t practically pleased with Susan actions, where they basically accuse her of bringing the unwanted admirer on herself.
Bud Crocker – “From now on if I was you I’d keep the curtain closed! You ever notice in a bank they always keep the counting room out of sight, so the customers won’t get tempted!”
After the two policemen leave, officer Webb decides to return to check up on the pretty lady, besides he thinks he knows her from school days. Webb comes across pushy and quite rude, where Susan can filp between feisty, then innocent, before feeling guilty as her husband talks away in the background as the radio plays. Nothing is quite the passion killer, as his voice always signs of with “I Will Be Seeing You, Susan” before he makes his way home.
With a title like The Prowler and the nature of most noir dramas, you know things aren’t going to go as easy as they could. The pleasure of these old films is working out how far they will take the story, which way will they turn as the mystery of the thriller starts to pan out.
Well I kept second guessing this one but it didn’t go as imagined. I had three possible twists in mind for where I had expected they would take the story but none came. One of them even started but fizzled out, maybe a red herring. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a brilliant little film but dare I say I was little let down by it. The story just didn’t have that kick I had hoped for, though I do blame myself for getting way overhyped.
This is still a dark story with excellent performances. It’s just, I felt a few plot holes took the sting out of it’s tail and the darker twists I was trying to second guess in the plot might of worked better! Laugh at me trying to punch up Hugo Butler’s and Dalton Trumbo’s screenplay from 67 years ago hehe. (Happy to chat about the possible twists that could of been in the comments section if you have seen the film).
Still an outstanding film, filled with oncoming dread and tons of sexual creepiness that gets right under the skin. It’s scandalous and disturbing nature must of been noted and talked about at the time.
Have you seen this one before? If you wish to let me know what you thought, feel free to comment away. Not sure what film I will post next, if you interested, pop on back in a few days. Wishing you all the best, thanks for reading my ramblings…… Mikey Wolf