Fear
a.k.a "Suspense"
Monogram Pictures 
Directed by Alfred Zeisler
Written by Dennis Cooper and Alfred Zeisler 
A Lindsley Parsons Production


Released April 3, 1946

     A solid fistful of entertainment that packs a wallop.  Film draws its strength from a combination of literate scripting and tight direction that keep the story elements in high gear from start to finish.
 
Leaning on Dostoevsky's "Crime & Punishment", this well-executed drama of a guilt-ridden conscience betraying itself retains more vitality than the most novel and complex twist of the usual who-dun-it.

     Tight direction pulls quality cast together.  Peter Cookson carries the heaviest load in the role of the brilliant medical student driven by poverty to the murder-for-money of a usurious money-lender.  Tripped up by fear, crushed by his burden of guilty feelings, Cookson finds his only escape is surrender to the police.

     William does a smooth job as the town sleuth who, though short on clues, is long on insinuations that seem to enmesh his victim in a web of evidence.  Warren and Cookson play effectively at cat-and-mouse to mount the film's dramatic conflict on a straight upward line.  Solid performances are also put in by Anne Gwynne, the romantic interest, and Francis Pierlot, as the loan-shark.


 

Cast:

Warren William

Anne Gwynne ... Eileen Stevens/Cathy

Peter Cookson

James Cardwell

Nestor Paiva

Darren McGavin

Almira Sessions

Production:

Dennis Cooper and Alfred Zeisler- Writers 

Alfred Zeisler- Director 

Lindsley Parsons- Producer

Jackson Rose- Cinematographer

Ace Herman- Editor

Full Storyline

After medical student Larry Crain learns that his scholarship has been revoked, he takes his gold watch to one of his instructors, Professor Morton Stanley, who is operating an unlicensed pawnshop out of his apartment. Stanley offers Larry $10, which he reluctantly accepts. Larry then goes to a restaurant, where the customer next to him is unable to pay for her meal. Larry kindly pays the bill for her, and she promises to repay him the next time they meet.

Larry returns home, wraps a glass ashtray in a handkerchief and goes to Stanley's. Larry hides in the shadows until a workman, who is painting an empty unit, leaves. Larry pretends to have brought Stanley another item to pawn, then hits him in the skull with the ashtray, killing him. Larry finds the money box, just as two more of Stanley's customers arrive at the door. When their knock goes unanswered, the customers decide to ask the janitor to check on Stanley, in case he is ill.

After they leave, a panicked Larry rushes out empty-handed, and when he hears someone coming up the stairs, slips into the vacant unit, getting some paint on his jacket sleeve in the process. Larry falls asleep and is awakened the next morning by the landlady and police officer Schaefer, who has come to arrest him. As they are leaving, the landlady hands Larry his mail. At the station, Capt. Burke tells Larry that there was an announcement in the previous day's paper requesting that Stanley's customers come to reclaim their possessions and he was the only one who did not do so.

Larry claims that he slept through the entire day and did not see the paper, then opens his mail. After reading it, Larry tells Burke that he has just received a check for $1000 from a periodical review that is going to publish an article that he submitted. Later, Larry finds Eileen (Anne Gwynne), the customer whom he helped, working at the restaurant. They decide to have a picnic, but Schaefer forces Larry to return to the station.

There, Burke complements Larry on his article, "Men Above the Law," in which he states his belief that if enough good results from an evil act, the act is justified. At the restaurant, the students excitedly inform Larry that the college has learned about his article and decided to renew his scholarship. At the station, Burke tells Larry that they found clothing fibers clinging to the paint inside the vacant unit. Larry goes to Eileen's home, confesses to the murder and resolves to turn himself in.

When he returns home, Larry finds Burke waiting for him. Burke points out that day's headline: "Painter confesses murder," then says that sometimes innocent people confess to others' crimes. Burke calmly asks Larry to come to his office later, which Larry agrees to do, but after Burke leaves, Larry quickly packs. He arranges to meet Eileen at a travel agency and, when he sees her across the street, is so anxious to join her that he steps in front of a car and is hit. Back in his room, a feverish Larry wakes up from his nightmare, relieved to learn that he has only been dreaming.

Then, Stanley arrives with a loan of $120 and news that Larry's scholarship has been renewed. In the hallway, Larry sees the landlady showing the customer from the restaurant to her new room, and she recognizes Larry. After she pays him the money that she owes him, Larry asks the woman, whose name is really Cathy, to meet him later.

 

Copyright 2001, 2010