THE SHADOW ON THE WINDOW (1957) is a well-done crime thriller starring Phil Carey, Betty Garrett, and John Drew Barrymore.
As the film begins, little Petey Atlas (Jerry Mathers of LEAVE IT TO BEAVER) is playing in an orange grove. He hears his mother screaming and runs to a nearby house, where he looks in the window and sees three men roughing up his mother Linda (Garrett) and killing an elderly man.
Petey runs for his life and is eventually picked up by truckers and handed over to the police. The boy is in a state of shock and unable to speak, but a detective realizes that Petey is coincidentally the son of Detective Sgt. Tony Atlas (Carey). Petey is reunited with his father but still unable to explain where he was or what happened to his mother.
WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS) and his two accomplices (Corey Allen and Gerald Sarracini), while she looks for a chance to escape.
This is a tight, well-plotted film which clocks in at a brisk 76 minutes. I most enjoyed the procedural aspect, as Tony and fellow officers (including Paul Picerni and Sam Gilman) gradually piece together Linda's location; that said, Garrett does well as Linda, doing the best she can to extricate herself from a robbery gone bad.
The characters aren't particularly well developed -- indeed, the handsome Carey is amazingly calm about his wife being missing -- but it's nonetheless an interesting film which I enjoyed.
While there's nothing particularly distinguished about the film's look, it was shot by Frank G. "Kit" Carson in gleaming widescreen black and white. It looks quite nice.
This film was directed by William Asher, who is perhaps best known for his long association with the TV series BEWITCHED.
THE SHADOW ON THE WINDOW is available on DVD from Sony. It's a beautiful widescreen print. The disc includes the trailer.
THE SHADOW ON THE WINDOW may be rented from ClassicFlix.