The Snorkel (1958)

The Snorkel (1958)





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Paul Decker (Peter Van Eyck) arranges what seems to be the perfect murder of his wife, while at her home in Italy. Lightly drugging her into unconsciousness, he seals the room she is in and turns on the gas, and then dons a diving snorkel with hoses drawing air from the outside -- he remains hidden in the room beneath the floorboards even as the police investigate the crime scene. As far as they know, he was just over the border in France when Mrs. Decker committed what appears to be suicide -- and there is no reason to investigate further, beyond a routine inquest. But he doesn't bargain on Candy (Mandy Miller), his wife's daughter by her previous marriage -- she has long believed that Paul killed her own father, and is positive that he was responsible for her mother's death. Try as those around her -- including her guardian (Betts St. John) -- do to convince her otherwise, she won't let go of this idea. And when Paul kills Candy's dog Toto, she tells him he will have to kill her, because otherwise she will kill him. From that moment on, they are on a collision course, as Paul tries at once to protect himself, covering tracks that he never thought anyone would trace -- not having bargained on the obsessive girl -- and to discredit her in preparation for possibly having to kill her. Meanwhile, Candy waits, watches, and asks question after question, hoping for one clue or slip that will allow all of her suspicions to fall into place. And finally, after several rounds of cat-and-mouse, and a near-fatal encounter, they meet face-to-face at the scene of the crime. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
Directed By:
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Peter van Eyck
as Paul Decker
Mandy Miller
as Candy Brown
Grégoire Aslan
as Inspector
Marie Burke
as Daily Woman
Irene Prador
as French Woman
Robert Rietty
as Police Sergeant
Betta St John
as Jean Edwards
Henry Vidon
as Italian Gardener
David Ritch
as Hotel Clerk
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Critic Reviews for The Snorkel

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Audience Reviews for The Snorkel


Starring: Peter Van Eyck, Mandy Miller, Betta St. John, William Franklyn, and Gregoire Aslan Director: Guy Green Paul Decker (Van Eyck) constructs the perfect locked-room murder by drugging his wife and filling the sealed room with gas while he hides under the floor breathing through a snorkel connected to fresh air via tubes in the outside wall. He remains hidden until the body has been discovered and taken away, and with everyone believing he is across the border on business, he seems to have the perfect alibi. Everyone that is, except for his teenage step-daughter Candice (Miller) who is convinced he murdered her. Although no adults believe her, Candice continues to push and investigate on her own, and soon Decker realizes he must eliminate her, too. "The Snorkel" is a mystery in the vein of the "Columbo" television series, in the sense that the audience is shown how the murderer sets up his "perfect crime" and the subsequent enjoyment comes from watching his said perfection be picked apart and his crimes ultimately coming to light due to something he overlooked or an attempt to stop whoever it is who is investigating him from succeeding. Like a "Columbo" episode, the murderer here is such a vile individual that viewers can't wait to see him exposed--there's every indication that this is his second murder as part of a long-term plan to gain access to his wife's fortune, and he is so base and arrogant that his wife isn't even buried before he starts putting the moves on Candice's hot young governess (Betta St. John)--but unlike on "Columbo" we're not given insight into the entire method by which Decker commits his crime, but the film lets viewers work it out at the same time Candice does. And that's the point where the film starts to get really fun, the point where Decker realizes that he needs to get rid of Candice, but also the point where he starts being too smart for his own good. The film's closing minutes represent a near-perfect ending. Candice turns key parts of Decker's scheme on him, with the help of a little bit of coincidence, and sets him up for a heaping helping of poetic justice... a great pay-off for the hour's time during which we've watched Decker ooze his way across the screen with an ever-growing wish for the ability to reach into the film and beat him to a pulp. With a script that moves so fast that we can barely notice its populated by two-dimensional characters; great performances by Peter Van Eyck, as a slimy villain you'll love to hate, and Mandy Miller, in one of her 'wounded kitten'-type roles that she so excelled at; and director Guy Green who brings across Candice's pursuit for truth with such conviction that viewers will be with her all the way, but will also wonder if her fanaticism isn't evidence that she's not just a child but also more than just a little crazy, "The Snorkel" is an excellent film from a nearly forgotten chapter in the history of Hammer Studios... from a time when they were more known for their thrillers than their technicolor Gothic horror romps. Check it out. It's one of six undeservedly obscure films presented in the "Icons of Suspense" DVD collection.

Steve Miller
Steve Miller

Good suspense drama involves a stepfather that kills not only a father but the mother of the daughter. Then, to top it off, he tries to kill the daughter (the one that has him figured out but is ignored by everyone). One of the Hammer collection, the so-called "icons of suspense collection" written on the dvd cover jacket. The title makes one thinks this is about scuba diving, but its not remotely related to water (at least at first). Watch the first few minutes of the film to see what I mean. Set on the Italian coast. This one is worth seeing. In black and white 1958, the unraveling of the murder for us involves no less than the daughter's dog, Toto. The daughter isn't believed by anyone that her stepfather could be the murder. The Italian police write off everything as a suicide. Peter van Eyck does a tremendous job as the stepfather and serial killer. The young teen daughter, Candice or Candy, is not the best actress in this suspense yarn. I can recommend this film but it could be hard to find.

monsieur rick
monsieur rick

Even though It has a dumb name for a title The Snorkel is actually an interesting movie & WOW, What an ending!!!

Brody Manson
Brody Manson

Super Reviewer

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