Bank teller Vince Grayson (DeForest Kelley) dreams that he stabs a man in an octagonal room of mirrors and locks the body in a closet. When he wakes up, he discovers marks on his throat, a strange key and a button in his pocket, and blood on his cuff. Cliff Herlihy (Paul Kelly), his police officer brother-in-law, tries to convince him it was just a dream.
Fear in the Night is a 1947 American low budget black-and-white film noir mystery film directed by Maxwell Shane and starring Paul Kelly and DeForest Kelley (in his film debut). It is based on the Cornell Woolrich story "And So to Death" (retitled '"Nightmare" in 1943). Woolrich is credited under pen name William Irish. The film was remade by the same director in 1956 with the title Nightmare this time starring Edward G. Robinson playing the cop and Kevin McCarthy.
Running Time: 72 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: NR
Bank teller Vince Grayson wakes from a nightmare in which he and an unknown woman murdered a man in a strange, mirrored room. Only a dream...but Vince finds that he has physical objects and bruises from his "dream." His cop brother-in-law dismisses his story...until the family, on a picnic, takes shelter from a thunderstorm in a deserted mansion containing that mirrored room. Is doom closing in on Vince?
Fear in the Night brings to mind Edgar G. Ulmer's legendary Detour in its brevity, its cast of unknowns, and its technical primitiveness. It doesn't have that film's crude and daring originality, though. Basically it's the story of a nightmare that turns out to be true (in fact it was remade in the 50s as Nightmare, with Edward G. Robinson). The whole premise of the plot is of such an implausibility that it's hard to take seriously, but if you close your mind and swallow it, the film develops a certain sleazy integrity. If you clicked onto this movie during a long, sleepless night of the soul, you'd probably stay till the (metaphorical) dawn.
Paul Kelly as Cliff Herlihy
DeForest Kelley as Vince Grayson
Ann Doran as Lil Herlihy
Kay Scott as Betty Winters
Charles Victor as Captain Warner
Robert Emmett Keane as Lewis Belknap, aka Harry Byrd
Jeff York as Deputy Torrence
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