6.7/10
1,473
38 user 7 critic

Beware, My Lovely (1952)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 29 August 1952 (USA)
A psychopath on the run takes a job as a handyman at the house of a lonely war widow.

Director:

Harry Horner

Writers:

Mel Dinelli (screenplay), Mel Dinelli (story "The Man") | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ida Lupino ... Mrs. Helen Gordon
Robert Ryan ... Howard Wilton
Taylor Holmes ... Mr. Walter Armstrong
Barbara Whiting ... Ruth Williams
James Willmas James Willmas ... Mr. Stevens
O.Z. Whitehead ... Mr. Franks
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Storyline

Helen Gordon hires Howard Wilton as a handyman to do chores around her house. She doesn't know what she's let herself in for. Insecure and paranoid, Wilton thinks everyone, including Helen, is against him. He suffers from memory lapses and extreme mood swings. She's soon a prisoner in her own house after Wilton locks the doors and tears out the telephone. His mood swings from violence to complacency but after Helen gets a message to the police via a telephone repairman, she finds he is still in the house. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Trapped by a man beyond control!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 August 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Day Without End See more »

Filming Locations:

USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Filmakers See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The head of RKO Pictures, Howard Hughes, withheld the film from release for a year. Robert Ryan felt Hughes tried to 'bury' the film because Ryan was publicly active in left-wing politics. See more »

Goofs

When Helen backs away from Howard after he discovers the secret message on the check, the shadow of a crew member is cast all over Helen's back, and is seen holding his hand to his head, then putting it down. See more »

Quotes

Howard Wilton: [after Ruth has deliberately sprinkled debris on the floor he's just been cleaning, on his hands and knees] You think I'm funny?
Ruth Williams: Not particularly.
Howard Wilton: I don't like being laughed at.
Ruth Williams: Well, aren't *you* the bundle of nerves! Listen, you. I don't see many men around polishing floors. It's a woman's job. Who do you think you are? Seems to me there's better ways for a *man* to make a living.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Un homme dans la maison (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Deck the Halls
(uncredited)
Traditional Christmas carol, lyrics by Thomas Oliphant
The neighborhood children are singing the song in Helen's parlor
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beware Of Strangers
18 July 2001 | by telegonusSee all my reviews

Beware, My Lovely is an experimental studio film from the early fifties and was directed by a man, Harry Horner, better known for his set designs. Robert Ryan plays a handyman who is hired by Ida Lupino to do some housework for her. The problem is that he is a psychopathic murderer and doesn't know it. Miss Lupino is an empathetic soul and tries to win Ryan over, to little avail. He is not the sort of man compassion could help or cure. Thus we have an interesting situation of two people who basically mean well, but one of them can't do well because there is something wrong with him. He suffers periodic blackouts during which he commits acts of violence, which he later forgets.

Essentially the effect Ryan has on Lupino is that of the hunter and his prey, or in another sense a sadist. The audience finds out early on that Ryan is a mad killer, but it takes Lupino much longer. Thus we must live with this knowledge as we watch poor Miss Lupino try everything in her power to 'win' Ryan over in order to make things work, get the job done, get on with life. But getting on with things isn't in Ryan's makeup, as he is incapable of any but the most rudimentary forms of normality, and as soon as there is an opening his paranoia asserts itself.

As a study in mental illness the movie isn't too impressive. What it's superlative at is showing the effect of major mental illness, with dangerous psychopathology in the mix, and its effect on a normal person. In this regard the film is realistic and compassionate, though relentlessly logical in that we know Lupino can't 'fix' Ryan, yet we want her to. The result is that, if one is willing, one can get extremely involved in this film emotionally if one can put aside, so to speak, its melodramatic structure.

Horner shows us, gradually, the layout the Lupino house , a forbidding gothic monstrosity that never feels like a home. We become familiar with staircase, kitchen and pantry; and we come to know which windows Miss Lupino can use for an escape and which ones she can't.


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