6.7/10
2,178
51 user 19 critic

Witness to Murder (1954)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 15 April 1954 (USA)
A woman's sanity comes into question, after she claims to have witnessed a murder from her apartment window.

Director:

Roy Rowland

Writer:

Chester Erskine (original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Cheryl Draper
George Sanders ... Albert Richter
Gary Merrill ... Lawrence Mathews
Jesse White ... Eddie Vincent
Harry Shannon ... Captain Donnelly
Claire Carleton ... May - Mental Patient
Lewis Martin Lewis Martin ... Psychiatrist
Dick Elliott ... Apartment Manager
Harry Tyler ... Charlie
Juanita Moore ... Negress - Mental Patient
Joy Hallward Joy Hallward ... Fellow Worker
Adeline De Walt Reynolds ... The Old Lady - Mental Patient (as Adeline de Walt Reynolds)
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Storyline

Cheryl Draper (Barbara Stanwyck) sees a murder through her bedroom window, but no one will believe her. She is stalked by the suave killer ('George Sanders'), who first takes steps to convince police she is crazy, but she has ally in a sympathetic policeman (Gary Merrill). Written by <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE SUSPENSE SHOCK OF THE YEAR! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

15 April 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Testigo del crimen See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Released less than a month before Rear Window (1954), to which the film bears plot similarities. See more »

Goofs

When Richter arrives for the first time at Lt. Mathews' office, he greets Cheryl Draper by name, but he has neither met her previously (except as a shadow behind her curtain) or been told her name. See more »

Quotes

The Old Lady - Mental Patient: Show Mr. Peabody into the library please.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Lux Video Theatre: Witness to Murder (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Nowhere Blues
Music by Herschel Burke Gilbert
Lyrics by Sylvia Fine
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A great look at being a career woman in the '50s
13 January 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Witness to Murder" is a small but interesting film starring Barbara Stanwyck, George Sanders, and Gary Merrill. By 1954, Stanwyck was 47 and no longer considered leading lady material. However, because she was such a great star and actress, she could still get good roles in big films, "Titanic" and "Executive Suite" being two that leap to mind. She could also, like Loretta Young, get stuck in B movies like this one and "Jeopardy." "Witness to Murder" isn't so much a B movie as it is closer to what one was seeing on television by 1954. And it's not a B cast.

Stanwyck plays a career woman, Cheryl, of a certain age who sees a woman murdered in the apartment across from hers. The apartment belongs to an author, Albert Richter, who emigrated to America after the war. Cheryl reports the murder but no one believes her. Richter is too smooth and always one step ahead of her with the police. Cheryl is considered an hysterical single woman who has delusions because she isn't married and probably going through menopause, though this isn't out and out stated. Completely outrageous and no doubt what actually went on at the time. These assumptions were just taken for granted in the '50s. There was something really wrong with a woman who never married. Read LOSER. A woman's goal in life was marriage; the career was just a stopgap until the ring was on the finger. What must it have been like for an intelligent woman to have that mantle put on her. In this film, the police detective (Gary Merrill) is interested enough in her to at least follow the case.

All of the acting is very good, with Stanwyck really shining as someone determined to get the truth out, even if she has to do a little detective work herself. Sanders is very effective as the villainous Richter, and he's pretty scary at the end of the film. The last 15 minutes or so are exciting and will have you on the edge of your seat.

This is actually a fairly derivative film bolstered by its stars. And you can't beat the opportunity to see the attitudes toward women played out in a realistic manner. Alas, there are still touches of it today.


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