Doris Day plays the title role as a woman being terrorized by her new husband in JULIE.
Julie married pianist Lyle Benton (Louis Jourdan) after her first husband committed suicide. After the wedding Lyle begins acting increasingly difficult, given to jealous rages and fits of temper.
After Lyle nearly kills Julie in a car accident, family friend Cliff (Barry Sullivan) begins to suspect that the death of Julie's husband was no suicide, and Lyle admits the truth to Julie: he murdered her husband.
From that point on, Julie's on the run from Lyle. The sequence where she initially makes her getaway is like one of those nightmares where you run in place but can't move, including a car that won't start! Most of the police are little help, although Detective Pringle (Frank Lovejoy) believes Julie and takes a sympathetic interest in her case.
Matters come to a climax when Lyle is unnoticed as he follows Julie onto an airline flight where she's a stewardess. At this point the film turns into an early version of an airplane disaster movie -- it preceded ZERO HOUR! by a year -- with a nerve-wracking sequence which may have helped inspire AIRPORT 1975 nearly two decades later.
I've previously read a couple reviews, including one by Leonard Maltin, indicating the film was unintentionally humorous or too hard to believe. However, other than a couple overwrought voiceover narrations by Day -- and perhaps the film's final sequence -- I thought those criticisms were off the mark. In fact, the subject matter of a wife stalked by her abusive husband, while police shrug helplessly, seems to me to have been rather ahead of its time. I also appreciated the film's realistic look in scenes such as those set in police stations. I wonder if, in some ways, this film may play better today than it did for reviewers of years past.
The film is also bolstered by particularly credible performances by Day, Sullivan, Lovejoy, and Jack Kelly as the plane's first officer. Day is properly shattered, having been through a suicide and then discovered she's married to an abusive homicidal maniac (!), but she's also admirable as she tries to hold it together and get on with her life. The final scenes are an affirmation for Julie that she's a strong woman who can move on.
I thought the closing flight sequence was extremely well done, thanks to Day, Kelly, Lovejoy, Barney Phillips as a doctor on the plane, and the various actors at the airport. Ann Robinson (THE WAR OF THE WORLDS) plays Julie's fellow stewardess. Sure, this section of the film may have been a little far-fetched, but the actors made me believe it, and I was certainly glued to the screen watching it!
Lovejoy has the capacity to be completely annoying (i.e., GOODBYE, MY FANCY) or solid and reassuring (THREE BRAVE MEN). This was one of his "reassuring" roles. Similarly, Sullivan can at times be on the bland side, but he strikes all the right notes as the concerned family friend.
Kelly, who appeared in FORBIDDEN PLANET the same year and would soon be one of the stars of MAVERICK, is excellent as the gutsy young copilot in a tough situation. It was a pleasure to see him in such a significant role.
Jourdan is scary as the psycho husband; we never really understand him or his motivations, other than he's simply flat-out crazy.
Although the movie was filmed in black and white, it has beautiful location shooting in the Monterey-Carmel area of Northern California. The cinematography was by Fred Jackman Jr., who ironically enough had been married to Jack Kelly's sister, Nancy, in the 1940s.
JULIE was written and directed by Andrew L. Stone, who also wrote and directed the suspenseful A BLUEPRINT FOR MURDER (1953) and THE LAST VOYAGE (1960). Stone received an Oscar nomination for the JULIE screenplay. His wife Virginia served as editor.
Aline Towne, Ed Hinton, Jack Kruschen, Carleton Young, John Gallaudet, and Eddie Marr are also in the cast. The film runs 99 minutes.
JULIE was released on VHS, but it does not appear to have ever had a DVD release.
It can be seen on Turner Classic Movies.
August 2011 Update: JULIE was just released as a remastered widescreen DVD-R by the Warner Archive.