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The Prowler (1951): The Dark Side of the American Dream

The Prowler (1951)

Homme-fatale, Van Heflin, seduces lonely housewife, Evelyn Keyes, and murders her husband for the woman and the inheritance. The dirty underbelly of the American dream exposed to scourging desert winds.

The screenplay of Joseph Losey’s The Prowler (1951 – Horizon Pictures), was written by blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who also wrote another film noir script, Gun Crazy (1950). The Prowler is a sordid tale of passion, entrapment, and betrayal. Suburbia cast as a dark nightmare, where the predator comes disguised as protector. Bravura performances from the two leads carry a flawed script forward to a classic denouement at the base of a tailings dump on the dusty outskirts of a ghost-town.  Losey’s direction is unforgiving. Each squalid act of the protagonist is forecast in tight claustrophobic framing that is almost suffocating. Finally justice propels the action out into the desert.

The Prowler (1951) The Prowler (1951)

The Prowler (1951) The Prowler (1951)

The Prowler (1951) The Prowler (1951)


  1. John Molina

    Must admit I was a bit dissappointed as I was with the earlier GUN CRAZY. Could it be that Trumbo was still at a journeyman stage or maybe too many cooks in the kitchen?

    Yeah, it’s an interesting film, but it has too many loose ends and I don’t think it is a seedy as NIGHTMARE ALLEY.

  2. Veronica

    It stayed with me after finishing it and I could not explain what I thought of it. Now I adore Van Heflin he is my favorite actor. But although the first hour is delicious and seedy the second half was a bit hit or miss. I do recommend people to see it if only for the great leads Van helfin and Evelyn Keyes

  3. dave

    Great soundtrack by Lyn Murray, and miles better than the one he wrote for “The Big Night” the same year.

  4. Thanks Dave. I will have to revisit and take notice. Tony

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