|THE NIGHT WALKER (director: William Castle; screenwriter: Robert Bloch; cinematographer: Harold E. Stein; editor: Edwin H. Bryant; music: Vic Mizzy; cast: Barbara Stanwyck (Irene Trent), Robert Taylor (Barry Moreland), Hayden Roarke (Howard Trent), Lloyd Bochner (George Fuller), Judith Meredith (Joyce Holliday), Rochelle Hudson (Hilda); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Castle; Universal Studios Home Entertainment-VHS; 1964)|
Psycho-like copycat thriller."
by Dennis Schwartz
Castle ("The Tingler"/"House on Haunted
Hill"/"13 Ghosts") directs this limp
Psycho-like copycat thriller, that's weakly written by
the novelist Robert Bloch (he wrote Psycho). It
also is done in by its cheesy special effects, its
many plot holes and that the viewer is inundated
to the point of annoyance by the heroine's
57-year-old Barbara Stanwyck, in her last
theatrical appearance, co-stars with her real-life
53-year-old husband of eleven years, Robert Taylor,
whom she divorced before filming. They previously,
before their marriage, made two films together.
murky film, filled with many plot twists, Ms.
Stanwyck plays a frightened widow,
Irene Trent, who screams a lot because she's haunted
by a recurring nightmare of a mysterious
lover she reaches out for. Irene, who only wants to
get a good night's sleep, decides to divorce her
control freak, electronics-wizard,
ugly, blind, millionaire husband, Howard
Trent (Hayden Roarke),
but he's suddenly killed in a suspicious lab
explosion. We subsequently learn through Barry
Moreland (Robert Taylor), her husband's lawyer, that
the mystery man of her dreams is a private eye, George
Fuller (Lloyd Bochner), someone her husband hired to
follow her. We also learn that Moreland was the
culprit behind the lab explosion, as he confesses to
Irene he did it because he changed the will so he
inherits his client's fortune after he tricked the
blind man into signing it. It turns out that Fuller
was in on the scheme with Moreland, but has fallen for
Irene, enough to kill his beautician wife (Judith
Meredith) so he can pursue her. Fuller also prevents
Moreland from killing Irene. The two unscrupulous men
fight it out for survival.
those looking for the film's pros: the opening
animated montage is amusing and the wedding
ceremony taking place in a deserted chapel filled with
mannequins is chilling.
the end the cons win out, as this manipulative film
becomes a bore and is about as clear as a mud bath.
REVIEWED ON 3/9/2015 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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