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Witness to Murder

Posted by martinteller on June 19, 2011

A woman finds herself the target after she… well, witnesses a murder.  A little bit Rear Window and a little bit Gaslight, it’s a mighty fine noir that combines the detective thriller and the psychological thriller.  Barbara Stanwyck is always a joy to behold, George Sanders gets to be wicked, and even Gary Merrill is pretty good as the detective.  There are a few sluggish/talky portions of the film, but the opening and closing sequences are dynamite, as is the hospital scene (with an entirely-too-brief appearance by the great Juanita Moore and a really fun Claire Carleton, someone I’ll be looking out for in the future).  A lot of the credit belongs to ace cinematographer John Alton, a master of shadows and light.  Not every film shot by Alton is worthwhile (*cough* Talk About a Stranger) but he almost always makes it better than it would be without him.  The Nazi/Nietzsche angle is a little silly and unnecessary, but whatever.  Despite some uneven pacing, this movie is a winner.  Rating: 8


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