Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Barbara Stanwyck, George Sanders, Gary Merrill, Jesse White, Harry Shannon, Claire Carleton, Lewis Martin, Dick Elliott, Harry Tyler, Juanita Moore, Joy Hallward, Adeline De Walt Reynolds
Written by: Chester Erskine
Directed by: Roy Rowland
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 83
Date: 04/15/1954
IMDB

Witness to Murder (1954)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Shadows of the Night

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

By 1954, Barbara Stanwyck, one of the greatest of all Hollywood actresses, wasn't really commanding A-list material anymore. However, she did some great work in her second-tier features, like Witness to Murder, a weird companion piece to the same year's Rear Window. Stanwyck plays designer Cheryl Draper, who wakes up one night and sees the silhouette of her across-the-way neighbor strangling a woman. The police can't find a body, and it's assumed that Cheryl must have dreamed the whole thing. But she's convinced and begins digging. Unfortunately, the neighbor, Albert Richter (George Sanders), is a crafty former Nazi who knows how to hide bodies and throw suspicion onto others. Police detective Mathews (Gary Merrill) gamely listens to Cheryl's stories and tries to dig up some tangible evidence, mainly because he's attracted to her. Director Roy Rowland (The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T) doesn't have nearly the cleverness or suspense of Hitchcock, but he turns in a fairly effective melodrama, helped by the great, shadowy cinematography of John Alton. Kino Lorber released a 2014 Blu-ray that includes a trailer.

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