Fear in the Night (1947)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

One of several low-budget mellers directed by scriptwriter Maxwell Shane, Fear in the Night was based on the short story Nightmare by William Irish (pseudonym for Cornell Woolrich). In his first starring role, DeForest Kelley plays Vince Grayson, a young man who has a terrible nightmare wherein he sees himself killing someone. When he awakens, Vince finds a couple of pieces of evidence indicating that his dream was no dream. Detective Cliff Herlihy (Paul Kelly) doesn't believe that Vince has killed anyone, but agrees to investigate. While taking shelter from a storm in a remote mansion, the detective and the young man stumble upon a mirrored room -- just like the one in Vince's dream. The frenzied Vince is nearly driven to suicide, but Detective Herlihy deduces that his friend's nightmare was the handiwork of Lewis Belnap (Robert Emmett Keane), the mansion's owner, who is a dabbler in hypnosis. Fear in the Night was remade in 1956 as Nightmare, with Kevin McCarthy and Edward G. Robinson. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Art House & International , Classics , Mystery & Suspense
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DeForest Kelley
as Vince Grayson
Paul Kelly
as Cliff Herlihy
Kay Scott
as Betty Winters
Ann Doran
as Lil Herlihy
Robert Emmett Keane
as Lewis Belnap
Jeff York
as Torrence
Charles Victor
as Capt. Wamer
Janet Warren
as Mrs. Belnap
John Harmon
as Mr. Bilyou
Gladys Blake
as Bank Clerk
Julia Faye
as Mrs. Tracey-Lytton
Dick Keene
as Mr. Kern
Joey Ray
as Contractor
Chris Drake
as Elevator Operator
Dick Keane
as Lewis Belknap
Loyette Thomas
as Waitress
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Fear in the Night

All Critics (2)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | August 7, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

...stuffed with catchy story elements, beginning with the basic premise of a mild-mannered bank teller...who dreams that he kills someone, then awakens to discover physical evidence suggesting it wasn't just a dream.

Full Review… | August 24, 2014

Its shortcomings, most of which arise from it not having aged particularly well, are ultimately offset by its ethereality.

Full Review… | October 25, 2011
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

An excellent low-budget psychological thriller.

Full Review… | September 27, 2004
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Fear in the Night


Very good noir with a young DeForrest "Bones" Kelly contains interesting visual effects. Understated, stylish and straightforward direction. Better than you might expect with an interesting structure and story.

Dr. Jitters
Dr. Jitters

A man awakes after a dream of murdering a stranger only to find actual evidence of the deed on his person. Was it only a dream or did he kill someone? DeForrest Kelley in his first lead role is pretty good as a guy losing his grip in this noir- ish thriller from the late 40's.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Ok, this is a little film noir from 1947. You can stream this one for free on Netflix or for free at Archive.org. Fear in the Night is about a man (Vince) who has a terrible nightmare in which, he kills a man in a strange mirrored room. When he wakes up he discovers that he has blood on his wrist on bruises on his neck just like in his dream. Slowly Vince begins to realize that he may have actually committed the murder that he dreamed about. In a panic Vince enlists the aid of his brother in law Cliff and the two of them try to figure out what happened before Vince is arrested for murder. You can tell right away that this was made on a modest budget and some of the acting is pretty atrocious but, it's an interesting crime drama and was an enjoyable watch. This movie was re-made with the same director in 1956 with Edward G. Robinson. This time it was called Nightmare. This is the feature film debut of DeForest Kelley who later went on to play "Bones" on Star Trek.

3guys 1movie
3guys 1movie

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