A chilling, eerie psychological thriller, HIGH WALL offers a singularly impressive performance from matinee idol Taylor. He is a WW II bomber pilot who returns to a cheating wife following the war. Taylor finds wife Patrick in the apartment of Marshall, a publisher of religious books; it is obvious that she intends to stay the night with paramour Marshall since she has been carrying her overnight bag. Just as Taylor begins to strangle his cuckolding spouse, he blacks out. He is later found unconscious next to his strangled wife in a wrecked car and is arrested for murder. Doctors
determine that Taylor's loss of consciousness is attributable to a brain injury from his service days. An operation will cure the problem but Taylor refuses. He realizes that the brain injury makes him legally insane and fears that if he is cured he could be executed for murder. He is sent to an
asylum for study by psychiatrist Totter. She's as convinced as the police that Taylor is a murderer. Yet Taylor curiously clings to a claim of innocence. Totter gives him drugs and he relates how he followed his wife to Marshall's apartment, began to strangle her, then blacked out. Totter and
Taylor then visit Marshall's quarters but are unable to find the traveling case Patrick was carrying on the night of her murder, one not found in the car. Marshall later visits Taylor and tells him that he killed his wife and put the blame on Taylor, a scheme designed to drive Taylor totally mad.
Instead Taylor escapes over the asylum's high wall--hence the title--goes to Marshall's apartment where Totter joins him and Taylor struggles with Marshall, knocking him out. Totter injects sodium pentothal into Marshall and he blabbers his guilt just as police arrive to hear the confession.
Totter and Taylor are now free to enjoy life together; Marshall is on his way to the death house. There are many suspenseful scenes in this taut thriller, not the least of which is one where Marshall realizes that only a lowly elevator operator, Barnett, suspects him of being the real killer;
Marshall sees Barnett trying to fix an elevator, its doors open to the gaping shaft while he stands on a stool before it. Almost as a casual afterthought while he strolls by, Marshall stretches out his umbrella, hooking the handle about one of the stool's legs, yanking it and sending Barnett down
the shaft to be killed. In this lone, unblinking act Marshall proves himself to be one of the most cold-blooded killers in celluloid history, made further heinous by the fact that he poses to the world as a moralistic publisher of religious books.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A chilling, eerie psychological thriller, HIGH WALL offers a singularly impressive performance from matinee idol Taylor. He is a WW II bomber pilot who returns to a cheating wife following the war. Taylor finds wife Patrick in the apartment of Marshall, a… (more)