Saturday, February 20, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Footsteps in the Night (1957) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

FOOTSTEPS IN THE NIGHT (1957) is the final title in the five-film Bill Elliott Detective Mysteries Collection, available from the Warner Archive.

I've now seen all of the films in this set, and I must say that I enjoyed them tremendously. They have nice casts in fast-paced, well-plotted stories with some good L.A. atmosphere. They make great entertainment when you only have an hour or so to spare.

Henry Johnson (Douglas Dick), a recovering gambling addict, is accused of killing his neighbor (Fred Horner) after the man enticed Henry to play poker. Henry had fled in terror after discovering the body and is actually innocent.

Detective Andy Doyle discovers that Bradbury (James Flavin), a man who lived in the small motel-apartment building next door, looks very much like the murder victim. Did the real killer confuse his victim's address?

I found this entry in the series particularly entertaining, starting with the stylish opening, as the body of the victim is discovered and a jazz record with a compelling beat plays underneath the credits. The unraveling of the mystery is enjoyable, as Sgt. Mike Duncan (Don Haggerty) bets with Lt. Andy Doyle (Elliott) over whether or not Henry is guilty. There's a nice touch of irony in their betting given Henry's struggle to give up gambling.

Douglas Dick, who played the murder suspect, just passed away two months ago, and Gregg Palmer, the gas station attendant, died last Halloween. The cast also includes Eleanore Tanin, Harry Tyler, Michael Garth, Ralph Sanborn, Forrest Taylor, and Robert Carson.

FOOTSTEPS IN THE NIGHT was not only the last film in the collection, it was Bill Elliott's last role, after over three decades in the business. I really enjoy his easy professionalism in these films; he's a man with the confidence of someone with a clear conscience and a good worth ethic, and while he's "by the book" he'll also go to bat for those he thinks are innocent.

Elliott passed away in Las Vegas in 1965, and his remains were interred at Palm Cemetery.

FOOTSTEPS IN THE NIGHT was directed by Jean Yarbrough and filmed in black and white by Harry Neumann. It runs a compact 62 minutes.

As a side note, the view of a worried-looking woman in a window on the movie posters has nothing to do with the movie!

Previously reviewed films in this set: DIAL RED O (1955), SUDDEN DANGER (1955), CALLING HOMICIDE (1956), and CHAIN OF EVIDENCE (1957).

FOOTSTEPS IN THE NIGHT is a lovely widescreen print which looks as good as the other films in the collection. There are no extras.

Coming in the future: More reviews of films in the Wild Bill Elliott Western Collection.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD collection. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just seen this. Neat little detective story. I liked Bill Elliott. James Flavin good in support.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Glad you got to check it out! I really liked all the movies in this set. Fun to watch.

Thanks for taking the time to add your feedback! Hope others who read our thoughts will take the time to watch them. :)

Best wishes,

1:00 PM  

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