Edited by Gordon Gates on 6/6/2016, 5:14 am
This one is a low budget tale of one man's decent into madness. The cast includes, Michael Higgins, Lois Holmes, Jean Allison and Doris Fesette.
The film starts with a young man on a New Jersey beach, Michael Higgins, being arrested by the Police. An off screen voice announced to be a psychiatrist, narrates the events leading up to Higgins arrest. Higgins is a man with more than a few mental issues. He was recently discharged from a mental hospital. Though he works in a bookstore, he spends most of his time wandering the Jersey Shore. He rents a small out of the way beach cottage and invites a family he just met to stay.
The family is, a mother, Lois Holmes, and her two daughters, Jean Allison and Doris Fesette. They spend their time lolling around the beach swimming and sunbathing. Our boy, Higgins, is attracted to the older daughter, Miss Allison, who wants nothing to do with him. The younger daughter, Fesette, has a crush on Higgins who does not notice this at all.
Higgins slowly becomes unglued as his psychiatric problems go untreated. Paranoia slowly overcomes Higgins has he fails to understand how to deal with the women. Matters take a nosedive when Allison shows up with a beau on her arm. The mother, Holmes can see that Higgins has problems, but writes it off to being shy. Needless to say, matters get worse with rape, violence and murder in the future.
This shot on a shoestring film is pretty good despite its lack of budget. The film was made in 1953 but not released till 1958. The cast does some decent work here with Higgins in particular shining. With a bigger budget, and a better director at the helm, this could have been a real winner. It still is worth a look if you can find a copy.
The director was long time b-film man, Irving Lerner. Lerner scored with a couple of excellent late 50's low rent film-noir, CITY OF FEAR and MURDER BY CONTRACT.
Of particular note here is the director of photography, Conrad Hall. This was 10 time Oscar nominated, and 3 time winning cinematographer Hall's first film. Hall's work includes American BEAUTY, COOL HAND Luke, IN COLD BLOOD, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and FAT CITY.
Actress Jean Allison was a long time fixture on 50's and 60's television as a guest star.