Witness To Murder (1954)

witness to murder 1954

Good suspenseful movie about a woman who witnesses a murder but the cops don’t believe her. Familiar plot but it all works since it’s in the capable hands of Barbara Stanwyck, George Sanders and Gary Merrill.

On a windy night Cheryl Draper (Barbara Stanwyck) closes her window. Across the street in a lighted room she spots Albert Richter (George Sanders) strangling a woman. She calls the cops. Lt.Larry Mathews (Gary Merrill) and his partner Eddie Vincent (Jesse White) show up. By the time they get to his apartment he’d already hidden the body. He stands in front of a torn curtain and the cops leave.

The cops try and convince Cheryl that it was all a dream but she insists she saw a murder. The next day she buys a small pair of binoculars. She spots an empty apartment next to Richter’s and asks the manager (Dick Elliot) to show it to her. She sees a dust trail that looks like a body was dragged through. To see what the place really looks like he takes her to Richter’s place.  She finds a pair of earrings and pockets them.

She takes them to Larry’s office but Richter got the jump on her and reported them stolen. She’s lucky she wasn’t arrested. Larry still thinks she’s disturbed but there is an attraction there. He looks into Richter’s background. He discovers that he was a Nazi whose wife died in a 1943 air raid. He was denazified and came to the U.S. and became a writer.

One night Richter sees Larry and Cheryl drive off and he mails a letter to himself.  He fixes the lock on her apartment so he can get back in after a short visit. While she’s out to dinner with Larry, Richter goes into her place and uses her typewriter to write another letter. He takes them both to Larry.

That’s all Larry boss needs to send her to the Observation Ward of the City Hospital. When two patients start to brawl she goes over the edge. Larry gets her released. She sees newspaper headlines saying a body discovered in Griffith Park had now been identified. When it was found she told Larry that could have been the woman Richter killed.

She spots Richter going through the papers and she starts putting things together. Larry still isn’t convinced. Now the suspense reaches a new level.

Some things are a little too convenient but it doesn’t take away from the overall movie. Look fast for Claude Akins near the end in a bit part as a cop. There’s also a scene on a ledge but it’s obviously a set. Still this is one worth checking out.

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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