True History of the Kelly Gang
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This psychological melodrama uses film noir techniques to tell an intriguing story about a child who suppresses the memory of a murder and is, therefore, unable to help the unjustly accused. Performances are excellent all around particularly Nancy Davis as a child psychiatrist.
Underrated Offbeat Film-Noir
Angered that her sister Celia has stolen her fiance, Dell Faring kills her and allows Celia's husband David, knocked out in an argument with Celia, to take the blame and end up on death row. Later Dell, finding out that David's young daughter Susan was witness to the crime and is undergoing psychiatric treatment, plans to eliminate her before her memory returns.
The treating psychiatrist, Dr. Caroline Canford, was played by a future "First Lady," Nancy Davis Reagan. Nancy had met then First Lady Grace Coolidge when she was seven.
The film also features an early appearance by Barbara Billingsey, better known as June Cleaver on the popular '50's sitcom LEAVE IT TO BEAVER.
Very suspenseful, felt disgust at Dell and lengths she was willing to go to to protect herself. Well done
This is a thriller with a great premise but it fails under lukewarm execution. The script takes the unfortunate liberty of letting the audience in on the culprit of this who-dunnit from the very beginning, and for the rest of the film we are left to watch these wooden characters play catch-up. It's a difficult operation, and Patrick Jackson proves he is no Hitchcock or Carol Reed. Still, the film is not without its merits. I enjoyed the first twenty minutes (the ones before the murder) very much; Zachary Scott is sympathetic and radiant in them, and the slow but violent unravelling of his wife's affair comes off as competent and even masterful screen drama. Once Scott is behind bars, however, the only actor with enough charisma to try to carry the picture is Nancy Davis (future Reagan), and eventually she buckles under the weight of this wrongly proportioned story.
[i]Shadow on the Wall[/i] is a mundane B movie with a ridiculous plot. The actors are adequate, but this film is a little more than a "filler." Zachary Scott, Ann Sothern, and Nancy Davis are fine, considering the material they are working with. The first twenty minutes are promising, but the film quickly falls apart once the plot is centered on the girl. This is a poorly constructed film.