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Fear in the Night (1947)

Paul Kelly; DeForest Kelley , Maxwell Shane  |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Kelly; DeForest Kelley
  • Directors: Maxwell Shane
  • Writers: William Irish; Maxwell Shane
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: Synergy Ent
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2007
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,700 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fear in the Night (1947)" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

A meek and mild bank teller awakens one morning from a disturbing dream in which he has killed a man, only to find that his dream may well have been real. Was he sleepwalking? Was he hypnotized? The suspense never lets up in this film noir original (later remade as "Nightmare" with Edward G. Robinson), as the story unravels to reveal an eerie tale of murder and mind control. Stars a young Deforest Kelley (later of Star Trek fame) in his feature film debut.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great old film noir movie starring DeForest Kelly August 29, 2003
Two decades before he boldly went where no man had gone before aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, DeForest Kelly starred in Fear in the Night, a vintage dark noir film (not to be confused with the 1972 Hammer film of the same name). Kelly plays a humble bank teller named Vince Grayson who awakens from a horrible dream, only to find that his nightmare may have been all too real. In the dream, he struggled with and then killed a man inside an odd octagonal room of mirrors. His relief upon waking up is dashed when he looks in the mirror and finds thumb marks on his neck. A quick self-inventory also reveals dried blood on his wrist and, most disturbingly of all, a key and button in his pocket, the very same items he grasped during his struggle in the dream. Naturally, he is both bewildered and horrified, and his need to talk about the situation leads him to his brother-in-law. Given the fact that his brother-in-law is a homicide detective, this doesn't strike me as the ideal plan. In any event, the guy doesn't believe him. A week later, Vince accompanies his sister and her cop husband as well as his own would-be sweetheart on a picnic. They seek shelter in a house at the beginning of a rainstorm, and wouldn't you know it, it's the same house as the one in Vince's dream. Things suddenly aren't looking too good for Vince, especially when he learns that a man was murdered in the house a week earlier. There's really only one fairly predictable way to explain these confusing events, yet the film still manages to maintain a significant amount of suspense up through its final moments. I found Fear in the Night to be quite a good film noir movie, complete with all the voiceovers and crescendo-happy music you would expect to find in this type of film.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If only we could see it. August 12, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a great old noir film, typical B-feature. I saw this as a child and was haunted for a few years by its eerieness. But, this DVD appears to be a copy of something shot off a movie screen with a camcorder and its visual quality is just at the threshold of human perception. The low price made it attractive enough to revive my memory of the more visible original.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Fear in the Night may be just another B movie designed to fill out a double bill, but it has some good things going for it. And that makes it a watchable, interesting noir.

Vince Grayson (DeForest Kelly), a pleasant, unexceptional young bank teller, wakes up one morning after a horrendous nightmare. He dreamed he was in a mirrored room, locked in a terrible fight with a strange man. He finds himself with a sharp-pointed awl in his hand and he drives it into the other man's chest. Then he drags the body into one of the small rooms behind one of the mirrored doors. When he wakes he's covered with sweat. He makes his way to the bathroom in the small hotel room he rents and finds thumbprints on his throat and blood on his hand. In his coat pocket he finds a blue button and an odd-shaped key. He makes his way to his sister's house to talk with her husband, Cliff Herlihy (Paul Kelly), a police detective. Herlihy just puts Cliff's story down to stress. But a couple of days later, driving out for a picnic with his girl friend, his sister and Cliff, Vince suggests they go to Salado Canyon, a place he's never been to before. In a downpour, Vince directs them to a large, dark house he's never seen. He knows where the key is under the mat. The house is empty, with the furniture and curtains covered by large, white drop cloths. He goes upstairs with Cliff and finds a small, mirrored room, and behind one of the mirrored doors, bloodstains.

Vince's nightmare is just beginning. Did he kill a man in the house? Why would he? Who were the two people killed there when Vince and Cliff talked with a local cop? Cliff Herlihy now is convinced that murders took place, that Vince wasn't responsible...and that Vince still might be a killer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"Fear in the Night" is a semi-supernatural thriller adapted by the film's director Maxwell Shane from Cornell Woolrich's story "Nightmare". This is a true B-movie, complete with clumsy but not ineffective visual effects, clocking in at only one hour and 10 minutes. As in so many B-movies of the 1940s, the economical narrative gives us a lot of movie in a short time. It lacks the hard edge and stylistic sophistication of many film noirs, but "Fear in the Night" probably falls within the noir style. Its introverted, chaotic, paranoid universe inside the protagonist's mind is the stuff that both existential and surrealist thinkers found to love in film noir.

"Fear in the Night" opens with a puzzling, vaguely lit scene inside an octagonal room with mirrored walls. It hardly seems real. A man and a woman are trying to drill a safe when another man interrupts them. The two men struggle, and the second man kills the first. The next morning, Vince Grayson (DeForest Kelley) awakes from a nightmare of killing a man in that room. But evidence suggests that it may not have been a dream. Unsure if his memory is real or imagined, tormented by violent visions, he seeks the advice of his police detective brother-in-law Cliff Herlihy (Paul Kelly). Cliff insists that the dream could not be real. Vince's uneasy, muddled mental state persists, so Cliff to browbeats him into accompanying the family on a picnic in the country. Vince begins to remember the landscape . Seeking shelter from a thunderstorm, he leads them to a house with the octagonal mirrored room. Now Cliff is convinced that Vince is a murderer and a liar.

It's unfortunate that Vince's character is not fleshed out more. But the confusion, torment, and alienation that bring him to the brink of self-destruction come across strongly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok movie
Ok movie. Doesn't hurt to watch.
Published 8 days ago by D. Vogelsong
5.0 out of 5 stars fairly good mystery movie from the classics
fairly good mystery movie from the classics...just a simple who done it...i like the good oldies...not violent but just enough intrigue...entertainment for sure.
Published 1 month ago by connie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by sunshine
4.0 out of 5 stars Good film noir
I enjoyed this film because of the suspense and mystery involved in the plot. The acting was good and I liked seeing Deforrest Kelly in his pre Star Trek days.
Published 4 months ago by Joan Simmons Stone
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Film-noir...terrible print
This 1947 film-noir classic deserves better than the really awful prints that swirl around because the film is in the public domain. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Harry Gene Neyhart
3.0 out of 5 stars Good (if Strange) Fun with Young Dr. Bones
Wacky film; all the politeness and conventions of postwar dramas, but a strange premise and low production values. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Fraucoach
3.0 out of 5 stars Low budget, adequate mystery
Very low budget, with some scenes bordering on the unintentionally comical. But Paul Kelly gives it his 'A' game, and there is legitimate mystery to it. Glad I saw it.
Published 9 months ago by Vincent Reda
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm A Doctor, Not A Murderer!...
Vince Grayson (DeForest Kelley) wakes from an apparent nightmare wherein he killed a man, only to discover evidence that his dream just might be real. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Bindy Sue Frřnkünschtein
3.0 out of 5 stars The Rich Really Are Different
Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for the crime noir Fear In The Night.

DVD Review

Fear In The Night, DeForest Kelley, Paul Kelly, directed... Read more
Published on December 10, 2011 by Alfred Johnson
3.0 out of 5 stars Dreaming About a Murder
Fear in the Night, 1947 film

It starts with a dream. There is a fight, a man falls, his body is pushed into a closet. How did those marks get on his throat? And the key? Read more
Published on January 20, 2010 by Acute Observer
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