Time: 116 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Academy Award nominations for Best Actor (Montgomery) and Best Supporting Actress (Whitty).
This is one of those films that must have been entrancing as a stage play, yet is terribly staid and somewhat boring when converted to the screen. While Montgomery pulls out all the stops, making his character both charming and creepy, the film never delivers on its' suspenseful set-up that of a murderer coming home to roost. There's never any doubt that Danny is up to no good. One is merely left wondering how bad he's going to be. Well, not wondering exactly, it's more like waiting. The film opens in the country cottage of Mrs. Bramson (Whitty), an elderly invalid who's a far cry from helpless. Her imposing attitude makes the lives of her staff and niece Olivia (Russell) far from pleasant, despite the bucolic nature of their surroundings. The suspected murder of a local woman adds some spice to their quiet lives and brings a touch of uneasiness to their isolation. A domestic squabble delivers Danny to their doorstep and he takes full advantage of the situation.
His attempts to finagle his way into their existence charm the pants off of the old lady, but fail to fool Olivia. She may be just another unfortunate soul dependant on her aunt's money and good graces; however, she's not an idiot. She doesn't trust Danny's sweet-talking, deferential act for a minute, but is secretly thankful to have him take over some of the endless and thankless tasks she's been forced to perform. Though she tries to deny it, he's even able to breach her cold and condescending exterior. She's attracted to the danger brimming underneath his calm demeanor, both fearing and hoping he's the killer everyone's been looking for. Her suspicions frighten her, but she can't seem to escape his web. That Danny's going to kill her aunt, and possibly her as well, is a fate she can't alter. Every moment is alive with the possibility that it may be her last. It's hard to believe that she would place herself in mortal danger merely to prove her hunch right, but her behavior is far from the craziest thing anyone's ever done in a suspense film. She's not very believable as a damsel in distress, but she captures Olivia's indecision and yearning well enough.