Fear in the Night (1947)
“Last night I dreamed I KILLED a man!…I DIDN’T WANT TO DO IT, BUT…MY BRAIN WAS HANDCUFFED!”
Director: Maxwell Shane
Cast: Paul Kelly, DeForest Kelley, Ann Doran
Synopsis: A man dreams he committed murder, then begins to suspect it was real.
DeForest Kelley, with a face free of the bags and lines we know so well from his years in the original Star Trek TV series, makes his feature film debut in Fear in the Night as a man who awakes from a nightmare in which he murders a man to discover that maybe it wasn’t a bad dream after all. The premise for this film – from a story by Cornell Woolrich – is both unique and intriguing, so it’s a shame that it isn’t as engaging as it ought to be. It’s difficult to imagine how someone would behave if faced with the circumstances he has to endure, but Kelley’s reaction isn’t completely credible. Both Kelley and his on-screen character are too weak to carry the film, so it’s left to that reliable stalwart Paul Kelly to holds things together as Kelley’s sceptical police detective brother-in-law, and he does well. Kelly’s wife is played by Ann Doran, who appeared in over 500 films from the age of four. Maxwell Shane, the director of Fear in the Night, clearly working with a budget near zero, shows some neat imaginative touches, and it’s just a shame that the quality of the print on the DVD I watched was so poor.
(Reviewed 23rd July 2012)