The Prowler

  • 1951
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Thriller

A scary, fascinating film, THE PROWLER is all Van Heflin: his moody, unpredictable performance dominates every jittery scene. He plays a cop who responds one night to a report of a prowler in the Los Angeles area. Heflin and his partner, Maxwell, find attractive housewife Keyes fearful of an intruder, but look around and find nothing. Later, Heflin returns...read more

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A scary, fascinating film, THE PROWLER is all Van Heflin: his moody, unpredictable performance dominates every jittery scene. He plays a cop who responds one night to a report of a prowler in the Los Angeles area. Heflin and his partner, Maxwell, find attractive housewife Keyes fearful of

an intruder, but look around and find nothing. Later, Heflin returns to see if Keyes is all right. He is attracted to her and also to her splendid home, telling her he hopes to buy a small motel outside Las Vegas some day, an enterprise that "will make money for you even while you sleep." He

discovers that the lady is often alone in the evening since her husband, Treacy, is an all-night radio disc jockey. He seduces her and learns that if anything happens to Keyes' husband, she will inherit a small fortune, which he then plans to make his own. One night, knowing that the husband will

be home, Heflin himself pretends to be a prowler and then responds to Treacy's call to the police. He finds the husband outside with a gun and pulls his own. Heflin kills Treacy, then shoots himself to make it appear that he killed Treacy in self-defense. Later, Keyes marries Heflin and they buy a

little motel in Las Vegas. But when Heflin learns that Keyes is pregnant, he panics. He believes that the pregnancy will incriminate him, since it is known that Treacy was sterile. Heflin tries to deliver the child himself but Keyes begs him to get a doctor when her labor pains become

excruciating. Heflin summons a doctor, Chambers, who delivers the child. During the course of the traumatic event, the exhausted, guilt-ridden Heflin admits to killing Treacy. He must now murder the doctor to cover up the confession, Keyes knows. She helps the doctor escape just as Heflin is about

to kill him and then calls the police. Cops arrive and Heflin makes a break for it, but is shot after ignoring a warning from the officers, ironically dying in the same fashion as his victim, Treacy. Losey does a fine job helming this film noir entry, but the offbeat flavor and Heflin's strange

mannerisms throw the viewer off balance and allow for little empathy toward an obvious cad and killer. Like THE HITCHHIKER, this film is bleak and offers little relief from the methodical ways of the scheming murderer. One must wait for Heflin to get his just end a little too long.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A scary, fascinating film, THE PROWLER is all Van Heflin: his moody, unpredictable performance dominates every jittery scene. He plays a cop who responds one night to a report of a prowler in the Los Angeles area. Heflin and his partner, Maxwell, find attr… (more)

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