Witness to Murder

1954

Crime / Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller

Witness to Murder (1954) download yts

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Barbara Stanwyck as Cheryl Draper
George Sanders as Albert Richter
Claude Akins as Police Officer
Gary Merrill as Lawrence Mathews
720p 1080p
574.57 MB
1280*720
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 23 min
P/S Unknown
1.22 GB
1920*1080
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 23 min
P/S Unknown

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by theowinthrop 7 / 10

Stanwyck does it again !

There should be a sub-genre in thrilling writing about the stories where somebody stumbles, accidentally, into witnessing a major crime but the perpetrator keeps countering each move with one of his or her own. The reviews on this thread keep referring to Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW, which certainly is the best known version of this plot, except for one element that is not in that film until very late. A better film to compare WITNESS TO MURDER to is actually THE WINDOW with Bobby Driscoll, Arthur Kennedy, and Paul Stewart.

Difference between WITNESS and REAR WINDOW, of course, is that in the latter film Raymond Burr is unaware of why he is the center of so much attention by the police until he sees Grace Kelly's gesture regarding his wife's ring and the only person who can see it is Jimmy Stewart across the courtyard of the apartment buildings. Then he realizes who has been tipping the cops off about him. But that is about ten minutes before the end of the film.

The situation in WITNESS TO MURDER is almost identical to THE WINDOW. Barbara Stanwyck happens to see a woman being strangled in an apartment near her's by George Sanders. But Sanders (like Paul Stewart in THE WINDOW, notices her and prepares accordingly. He (like Stewart) has nothing to hide when the police (Gary Merrill and Jesse White) show up. He is soon analyzing Stanwyck for them as a neurotic spinster who hallucinates. And he is quite convincing.

The difference between Sanders and Paul Stewart in their comparative film parts is that Stewart killed his victim in an argument over business (Sanders was in a sexual rage). Moreover, whatever one thinks of Stewart's glib and careful killer, he is not getting deeper and deeper into crime out of any political or intellectual views. Put another way: if Bobby Driscoll had not witnessed what happened, but was sound asleep (and Stewart was sure of it), Stewart would have hidden the dead body somewhere, and he and Ruth Roman would have packed up and moved to another city. Roman's loyalty to him would have reassured that there wouldn't have been any problems on that end.

But with Sanders he approaches the situation from a "spiritual" side that Stewart would have found incomprehensible. We learn (and it is a point that Merrill finds odd and troubling) that this suave, courteous, and intellectual man is a defender of Nietzche's "superman" theories (as twisted by the Nazis) and apologist for the policies of the Nazis in several books. His treatment of his initial victim, and his subtle and continuous persecution of Stanwyck are of a piece (he does not believe such inferior types should threaten him). Towards the end he even intends to make her death appear to be a suicide. Stewart felt Driscoll was a viable threat to his freedom and security, but he never has a speech suggesting the boy was a biological inferior.

WITNESS TO MURDER is a good thriller, but it is not one of the all time great ones. Still it is a worthy picture, the only one where Stanwyck and Sanders appeared in together. So I give it a "7" on the scale, recommending it as an interesting version of the hunted turned hunter genre of thriller.

Reviewed by Elaine 10 / 10

Great movie

I just saw this today, also thanks to TCM. It was well-paced and very believable and kept my interest throughout. Stanwyck, Merrill and Sanders were all superb, as were the minor roles well-played. Barbara is one of my very favorite actresses, always bringing professionalism and passion to the roles she played. You just imagined her with a backbone of steel, a perfect feminist heroine, most especially in her later roles. There is not a wasted moment in this film, and I particularly liked the first scene with the windy backdrop, adding an air of foreboding to what was unfolding. NO ONE plays a villain better than George Sanders, and he gives his usual splendid portrayal in this film.

Reviewed by blanche-2 7 / 10

A great look at being a career woman in the '50s

"Witness to Murder" is a small but interesting film starring Barbara Stanwyck, George Sanders, and Gary Merrill. By 1954, Stanwyck was 47 and no longer considered leading lady material. However, because she was such a great star and actress, she could still get good roles in big films, "Titanic" and "Executive Suite" being two that leap to mind. She could also, like Loretta Young, get stuck in B movies like this one and "Jeopardy." "Witness to Murder" isn't so much a B movie as it is closer to what one was seeing on television by 1954. And it's not a B cast.

Stanwyck plays a career woman, Cheryl, of a certain age who sees a woman murdered in the apartment across from hers. The apartment belongs to an author, Albert Richter, who emigrated to America after the war. Cheryl reports the murder but no one believes her. Richter is too smooth and always one step ahead of her with the police. Cheryl is considered an hysterical single woman who has delusions because she isn't married and probably going through menopause, though this isn't out and out stated. Completely outrageous and no doubt what actually went on at the time. These assumptions were just taken for granted in the '50s. There was something really wrong with a woman who never married. Read LOSER. A woman's goal in life was marriage; the career was just a stopgap until the ring was on the finger. What must it have been like for an intelligent woman to have that mantle put on her. In this film, the police detective (Gary Merrill) is interested enough in her to at least follow the case.

All of the acting is very good, with Stanwyck really shining as someone determined to get the truth out, even if she has to do a little detective work herself. Sanders is very effective as the villainous Richter, and he's pretty scary at the end of the film. The last 15 minutes or so are exciting and will have you on the edge of your seat.

This is actually a fairly derivative film bolstered by its stars. And you can't beat the opportunity to see the attitudes toward women played out in a realistic manner. Alas, there are still touches of it today.

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