Witness to Murder Reviews
(1954) Witness to Murder
The first few minutes in has Cheryl Draper(Barbara Stanwyck) looking through her window physically witnessing Nazi sympathizer author Albert Richter(George Sanders) choking an unknown lady to death and of course she calls the police. And I guess, there was a time that when police were called, they would go and see the assiliant making the phone call first before checking out the penthouse where the murder had taken place which gave Albert enough time to hide the body. And by the time the police finally shows up at the penthouse where the murder happend with Detective Mathews(Gary Merrill) being in charge they don't find a single thing, which also includes a pair of errings.
And although, viewers know this guy is going to get caught, it's just a matter of when and how. As soon as Albert discovers which lady who saw him, he turns the tables on her by manipulating the system by convincing them that she's disillusional and should be at the loony asylum and to say anymore would be pointless. This can also be the bases for many Hitchcock movies since it has similar themes to Rear Window and was also released months before Rear Window's release as well as Vertigo.
The movie is slightly outdated because of cell phones and recorders and so forth but anyone familiar with the 'master of suspense' director Alfred Hitchcock should know that this film may have been the basis of two of his films, most notably his masterpiece "Rear Window" and "Vertigo" because they're also some vertigo scenes on here but not as intense.
3 out of 4 stars
Problem is that Barbara Stanwyck is too strong a figure to make us believe she'd be mentally manipulated. Add to that Gary Merrill's implausible character of a disbelieving cop/love interest and this thing just doesn't work.
The music score is awful, but the film noir cinematography is superb.
A woman thinks she witnesses a murder and immediately calls the police. The police and a detective come immediately to her and listen to her story. Her story has so many holes the concept of a murder having actually taken place seems unlikely. The detective tries to meet with her regularly to hear her thoughts and make sure she is okay, but her persistence in pursuing the case may lead to her needing mental help.
"It could be worse tomorrow."
"That's what I am afraid of."
Roy Rowland, director of Meet me in Las Vegas, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, Man Called Gringo, and The Moonlighter, delivers Witness to Murder. The storyline for this picture is worthwhile and a little like Rear Window. The acting was very good and the cast includes Barbara Stanwyck, George Sanders, Gary Merrill, and Juanita Moore.
"I have nothing to fear from you. You're insane."
I came across this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and decided to DVR it. This was a good movie and was well paced. Stanwyck delivers a solid lead performance. While this is entertaining, it isn't a classic or as good as several Hitchcock films released in this era of a similar feel.
"All fixations are pretense."
Stanwyck plays an artist, Cheryl Draper, who, through her window, witness her neighbor, Albert Richter, killing a young woman. She calls the police, but they find nothing suspicious in his house that could testify that there has been a crime committed. So the result is that the police believes Cheryl is mad, and they won't take her seriously even after when she claims that Mr. Richter is persecuting her.
Stanwyck is doing her usual "hysterically afraid woman, being persecuted by criminal, and the police don't believe her"-routine. She does it great. And I absolutely love seeing George Sanders playing a vicious Nazi, just as convincing as ever!
But to put it short, this ain't nothing that we haven't seen before. I have to agree with critic, Dan Callahan, that it gives an impression that it was shot during a single weekend, or something like that. They certainly could have put some more effort into it!
The plot reminds a lot of HItchcock's Rear Window, but keep in mind that this movie, actually came first!
So DO watch The Mad Miss Manton or Rear Window, rather than this, and you won't be disappointed.
I think Witness To Murder, today, is mainly for Stanwyck-fans.
rating = 1 1/2 AND
John Alton AND George Sanders AND Barbara Stanwyck IN (full cast and crew).
Very much in the style of a Hitchcock film, conspiracy, fear, cover ups..it has it all.