The Prowler (Cost of Living ) (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Prowler (Cost of Living ) (1951)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Prowler (Cost of Living ) Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The Prowler was director Joseph Losey's next-to-last Hollywood production before he fell victim to the insidious Blacklist. Van Heflin stars as Webb Garwood, a cynical cop who, during a routine search for a nocturnal prowler, makes the acquaintance of neglected wife Susan Gilvray (Evelyn Keyes). This chance meeting develops into a serious romance, conducted while Susan's husband, disc jockey William (Emerson Treacy), hosts an all-night radio program. Inevitably, Garwood and his paramour begin plotting William's murder, intending to arrange the evidence to make it look like suicide. The fatal flaw in their scheme becomes apparent only after Susan finds that she's pregnant (nothing more can be explained here without giving away the plot). Filmed on a shoestring, The Prowler has a gritty, realistic "feel" throughout, enhanced by the unvarnished, unglamorized performances of stars Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Robert Thoeren, Hugo Butler, Dalton Trumbo
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 1, 2011
VCI Entertainment - Official Site


Van Heflin
as Webb Garwood
Evelyn Keyes
as Susan Gilvray
Katherine Warren
as Grace Crocker
John Maxwell
as Charles 'Bud' Crocke...
Emerson Treacy
as William Gilvray
Madge Blake
as Martha Gilvray
Sherry Hall
as John Gilvray
Louise Lorimer
as Motel Manager
George Nader
as Photographer
Benny Burt
as Journalist
Louise M. Bates
as Doctor's Wife
Steve Carruthers
as Mr. Talbot
Betty Jane Howarth
as Mrs. Talbot
Fred Hoose
as Foreman
Tiny Jones
as Airline Passenger
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Prowler (Cost of Living )

Critic Reviews for The Prowler (Cost of Living )

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (6)

It's really a quick, deft analysis of a kind of world where corruption and easy answers are on the advance.

Full Review… | June 24, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

The Prowler may be the creepiest of classic noirs.

Full Review… | March 16, 2010
Village Voice
Top Critic

This hallucinatory film noir is still, for me, Joseph Losey's best film.

Full Review… | March 16, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A bawdy, daring story.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Losey rises magnificently to the occasion in his use of the Mojave Desert ghost town location.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | November 17, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Prowler (Cost of Living )


a crazy film with van heflin in the lead, playing a creepy power abusing cop who takes advantage of a lonely married woman. he's great here and it seems a shame he was usually relegated to second banana roles. the film was made very cheaply and it's paranoid atmosphere is highly effective, ending with a big meltdown in the nevada desert

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


This is why Losey is one of my favorite directors.

Stefanie C

Super Reviewer


In "The Prowler," police officers Webb Garwood(Van Heflin) and Bud Crocker(John Maxwell) respond to a call about a prowler that has been menacing Susan Gilvray(Evelyn Keyes). After being satisfied that she is safe, they leave. Later that night, Webb returns and the two find a common ground in both being from the same part of Indiana where he was a high school basketball star. Susan came west to become an actress but eventually married John Gilvray(Sherry Hall) who hosts a late night radio show, keeping her company on her sleepless nights. At first, she is resistant to Webb's rough charms but eventually agrees to meet him in Las Vegas.

Director by Joseph Losey, "The Prowler" is a nifty noir film that is ahead of its time in its brief pre-credits sequence and in insinuating life beyond twin beds. In shifting gears from night to day, the movie is about two amongst many who come to Los Angeles to live a dream and end up having it unfulfilled, staying on to live a modest life. For Susan, it is life in a loveless marriage to an older man. The film looks down on Webb for hating being a policeman(This is a job you would have to love with all of its attendant hardships including long hours, low pay and the constant threat of violence.) which is a profession that provides a public service. He has larger dreams like owning his own motel on the way to Las Vegas. Like all plans, it all comes down to the details.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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