Saturday, January 9, 2016

THE SHADOW ON THE WINDOW (1957)


Here is another opportunity to see John Drew Barrymore playing a Sociopathic hood and leader of a makeshift trio of dim bulbs, which includes Cory Allen. Location filming adds realism to the story but it plays out more like a TV episode.

While playing outside the home where his mother is temporarily employed, Jerry Mathers hears her screams. Running to the window he sees mom, Betty Garrett, being thrown violently to the floor. Coupled with his witness of the homeowner’s murder, the boy goes into a state of shock. He wanders off, never blinking, down a road until two truck drivers help him get to safety. Enter police detective, Philip Carey, with a most envious character name of Tony Atlas. It is his boy who was rescued and wife being held hostage. He is told of the boy’s condition then proceeds to find out where he came from and what happened to mother. Carey’s stoic, low key performance does not always fit the compassionate father role. Maybe a hug would have helped the boy. Not until they track down the truck drivers hours later are they able to locate the secluded farmhouse. There is a scene I could mention with potential for Garrett’s rescue but it turns out to be irrelevant for her and the audience alike.

This B-movie includes the usual tense moments as Garrett tries and fails to befriend one of the gang and a briefly exciting chase to apprehend Allen. This must have been the era to have psychos with light blonde hair. From Raymond Burr to Skip Homeier and now Allen. None have their head screwed on right. We know the three losers are not going to make it. But how? Seeing Barrymore break down his bravado into a sniveling coward when seriously challenged is ...uh...expected. Though the hostage premise is not unique, and the hoods are typical of the era, it is not an embarrassing film and may be worth seeing.

I find the poster funny due to bad perspective. The gun in hand tells us that Carey is able to shoot around corners or Garrett has the gun in her itty-bitty hand. I think the illustrator was told after finishing the art to add a gun for excitement.

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