Step Down to Terror (1958)

US / 76 minutes / bw / Universal International Dir: Harry Keller Pr: Joseph Gershenson Scr: Mel Dinelli, Czenzi Ormonde, Chris Cooper (i.e., Sy Gomberg) Story: Gordon McDonell Cine: Russell Metty Cast: Colleen Miller, Charles Drake, Rod Taylor, Josephine Hutchinson, Jocelyn Brando, Alan Dexter, Rickey Kelman.

Alfred Hitchcock has been reported as saying that SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943), starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten, was his own personal favorite of all his movies. It’s safe to say that this remake—the first of two in the English language, the other (which I haven’t seen) being Strange Homecoming (1974 TVM) dir Lee H. Katzin, with Robert Culp, Glen Campbell and Tara Talboy—isn’t as good as Hitchcock’s version, but it does have some strengths; it’d be erroneous to dismiss it as just a lukewarm imitation.

After an absence of six years, Johnny Walters (Drake)—for some reason called Johnny Williams in the closing credits—returns to the small California town of his birth, Middletown, to stay with his widowed mom, Sarah Walters (Hutchinson), his widowed sister-in-law, Helen Walters (Miller), and Helen’s young son Doug (Kelman).

Charles Drake as Johnny.

At first Helen finds herself attracted to the genial, open-handed Johnny, but then odd things start happening to make her uneasy in his presence. Matters come to a head when Continue reading

Something to Live For (1952)

US / 89 minutes / bw / Paramount Dir & Pr: George Stevens Scr: Dwight Taylor Cine: George Barnes Cast: Joan Fontaine, Ray Milland, Teresa Wright, Richard Derr, Douglas Dick, Herbert Heyes, Harry Bellaver, Paul Valentine, Douglas Spencer.

Something to Live For - 0 opener

Advertising executive Alan Miller (Milland), a reformed alcoholic who now does interventions on behalf of Alcoholics Anonymous, is called by Billy (Bellaver), the elevator operator of a residential hotel, to come and intervene in the case of one of the guests, struggling actress Jenny Carey (Fontaine). Alan takes her out and manages to sober her up. By the end of the evening, though, even if they’re not admitting it—and especially because Alan is married with two small kids—they’ve fallen in love.

Something to Live For - 1 Alan's first sight of Jenny

At first Jenny (Joan Fontaine) resents Alan’s presence.

The next day Jenny discovers she’s lost the Broadway role for which she was rehearsing, having missed two read-throughs in a row. Though tempted to Continue reading