"THE BOY CRIED ' WOLF' 'WOLF' SEVERAL TIMES AND EACH TIME THE PEOPLE CAME TO HELP HIM THEY FOUND THERE WASN'T ANY 'WOLF' ". Aesop's Fables RKO certainly lived up to its reputation as the finest creators of Film Noir with this taut and suspenseful thriller made in 1947. Held back, for some reason, by Howard Hughes until a 1949 release THE WINDOW was based on a story by Cornell Woolrich that became a splendid screenplay by Mel Dinelli. Photographed in stunning crisp Monochrome by William Steiner it was directed with unrivaled regard to tension and impact by Ted Tetzlaff. With no marquee names to speak of and costing a modest sum to produce on the streets of New York's Lower East Side the picture was a great success with both critics and public alike. The story of THE WINDOW concerns a 10 year boy Tommy Woodry (Bobby Driscoll) who just loves to spin yarns and tell tall tales. He lives in a modest apartment with his parents (Arthur Kennedy and Barbara Hale) in the lower East Side of New York city where his playground is the dilapidated tenements that surround him. One warm night he awakens and because of the heat takes his pillow out on to the fire escape to sleep. Here he witnesses a murder under the window shade of an adjoining apartment. But being the great story teller he is no one will believe him. No one, that is, except the killers themselves (Paul Stewart and Ruth Roman) who now must find a way to silence the boy. From here on the film never lets up. It becomes a white knuckle ride as Tommy tries to escape the killers clutches down alley ways and across the dodgy rooftops of dangerous tenements. The picture ends with one of the killers falling to his death and Tommy being reunited with his parents who finally believe him. Now he makes a solemn promise never to cry 'Wolf' again. Adding greatly to the thrills is the marvellous music score by RKO's Noir composer in residence Roy Webb. With a terrific main theme, heard in its broadest form under the titles, there is also some splendid eerie music for the stalking scenes and exciting action cues for the chase sequences. But there is little doubt that the film is held tightly together and dominated by the outstanding central performance from the ill-fated 10 year old Bobby Driscoll. You simply cannot take your eyes off him. An amazing little actor, it is a great shame he never got to have a full career in film. But it was never to be! Fate had other plans for him. He was to be plagued with bad luck for the rest of his days. First he suffered with severe acne in his teens which halted his film career. Then he was arrested and sent to jail on drugs charges. When he was released his reputation proceeded him and he was unemployable in Hollywood. Later he made a couple of stabs at supporting roles in films of no repute. But he never regained even the slightest spark of his childhood genius. With his career virtually over he became a drug abuser again. In 1968 - and ironically in the same setting as his greatest success in the film THE WINDOW - two children playing found his dead body in a derelict tenement in New York's Lower East Side. He was only 31 years old. It is quite inconceivable that for someone who had demonstrated such a mighty talent should finish up unknown, unclaimed and sadly come to be buried in a pauper's grave on Hart Island.
Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller
Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller
To avoid the heat of a sweltering summer night a 9-year-old Manhattan boy decides to sleep on the fire escape and witnesses a murder, but no one will believe him.
October 28, 2020