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The Prowler (Cost of Living )

The Prowler (Cost of Living ) (1951)



Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 215

My Rating

Movie Info

Webb Garwood (Van Heflin) is a cynical policeman who believes that success comes from lucky breaks. Responding to a prowler complaint at the home of Susan Gilvray (Evelyn Keyes), he is immediately attracted to her and her wealth. He returns to "check up" on Susan, and they begin an affair, conducted while listening to her husband John (Sherry Hall)'s all-night radio program. Feeling guilty, Susan ends the relationship, but Garwood remains obsessed. He pretends to be a prowler on the Gilvray


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Feb 1, 2011

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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (0) | DVD (4)

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

June 24, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The way Heflin plays this rake, you never think for a second that he'd be cowed by a guilty conscience. He's a defiantly charismatic brute who turns, unconvincingly, into a wet noodle.

March 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Prowler may be the creepiest of classic noirs.

March 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

March 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A bawdy, daring story.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Prowler becomes a twisted vision of American entrepreneurship, with the two leads forming a grotesque nuclear family.

July 24, 2012 Full Review Source:

Losey's magnificently ruthless dismantling of his characters' veneers and delusions and self-made traps

March 18, 2012 Full Review Source: CinePassion

The rectangle-within-a-rectangle symmetry of the window within the frame of the movie screen in the opening scene reinforces the notion that the filmgoer is essentially a licensed Peeping Tom...

February 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

A down and dirty masterpiece.

February 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

... a classic of working class envy, restless resentment... and the brutal opportunism of a former golden boy willing to do anything to get what he's sure is due him.

February 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Director Losey and screenwriter Trumbo aren't providing the usual mystery tale here.

January 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

a ferociously perverse noir masterpiece

March 18, 2010 Full Review Source:

A scary, fascinating film.

March 16, 2010 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Losey's script is fine, but doesn't really draw the audience in, or inspire compassion for any of the characters.

March 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

A powerful thriller from Losey before he fell foul of Hollywood's infamous blacklist.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

A neat noir thriller.

April 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

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
August 7, 2012
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

This is why Losey is one of my favorite directors.
August 1, 2011

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.
March 22, 2010
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Good Noir about a cop abusing his power to get what he wants. Good story and probably one of the first to deal with the "Unlawful Entry" plot that we have seen annually for the last 20 years. The story is at a good pace and very believable. It has a modern view on basketball, unhappiness with your career, and pre-marital sex. Van Heflin is great and his character is very realistic, he is bad, but not cartoonish. He does everything for love, he just approaches it all wrong. The very end is a little melodramatic, but overall a solid film. Not great, but worth a watch if you can find it.
March 25, 2010

Super Reviewer

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