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anyone know this film???


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when i was a kid of about 4 years old i saw a film although not a true horror film it scared me very badly. it was about a family without an adult male role model: there was a mother, a sister and an older female, probably a grandmother or a spinster aunt + a young boy. a man arrives on the scene and begins to help the family out. slowly he wins over the females and gains their confidences. then...strange things begin to happen around the house. the young boy gets the blame, but he is innocent and he alone knows the culprit is the man, but no one believes the boy. the boy's bike gets backed over by the family car while the man is behind the wheel. the man presents the damaged bike to the boy in the presence of the family and states that he had warned the boy not to park his bike behind the car. the boy cries that he didn't park his bike there and then the spinster woman realizes the boy is telling the truth. it seems at the end of the film the man is chasing the boy around. it seems like in the finale the man is finally is killed and falls under a table. i saw this film one time and one time only. i was four in 1966. from what i remember the film looked to be made in the 50's. it is not night of the hunter which i have seen many, many times. i have done a lot of resesrch over the years trying to re-discover the film. through my readings there have been times when i thought it was either man afraid or strange intruder. to my knowledge/memory i have seen neither of those films, just read about them. do you have any idea what the film might be??? thanks! john

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Wow, - it sounds like a good one! The" I'm the only one who knows who the monster is and nobody believes me', is a common and very effective theme. And 'Night of the Hunter, which you mentioned, uses it to a great extent, its used somewhat in "Needful Things" - except its the sheriff who knows, not an innocent child.

You say you were four. Was there an adult or older child watching with you you could ask? (Although you've no doubt covered that ground) I wish I could help you, it is frustrating to try and find out somethat like that. I have a similar problem, concerning a fantastic book I read in the mid 90's, that I have been dying to reread, which I could SWEAR was called, "MINE", and I could SWEAR was written by Richard North Patterson. Except that Patterson never wrote a book by that title - and neither has anyone else. Frustrating indeed!

 

I hope someone here can help you out! Best of luck identifying your film.

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thank you for the reply Pia. my older sister was baby-sitting me, but she doesn't remember! thank you for taking the time to read my post. best of luck locating that book. perhaps it is merely temporarily out of print. i really hope you can re-locate it. thanks for your kindness. john

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  • 3 weeks later...

John, I've really been working, trying to find that film for you. I'd like to see it myself. I've used every keyword I can think of, but still haven't found it. I even searched for "child actors of the 50's" with no luck. Was it for sure a movie, or a television program instead maybe? In a way, it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock vehicle since he loved to take the ordinary and make it the object of terror. I recall there was an Alfred Hitchcock television program in the 50's. One of them terrified me when I was small and it was on the Alfred Hitchcock Presents television program. It's something about people arriving for a dinner in an large, fancy home. I think they are discussing the will of their dead aunt, or something like that. They keep seeing a female figure sort of lurking in the hallway outside of the dining area and think it's the maid or cook. When they are finished with the meal, as they are leaving, the maid actually comes in the front door, making her apologies because she was delayed by a storm outside. The men all turned pale -- they had been seeing a ghost! It scared me to death, but I saw the same episode a few years ago, and although it was well-made, it certainly didn't scare me. I chuckled when I recalled how much it scared me as a child.

 

If you could remember just one of the actors, we might find it. Do you remember if perhaps you had seen the little boy in other movies or television series?

 

I'll keep looking for you.

 

Sharon49

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i greatly appreciate your efforts. i really do. i was quite young when i saw it. i was about 4. my older sister was baby-sitting me at the time. she doesn't remember it! i don't recall any of the actors. i am almost 100% for certain it was a movie, not a series. that is a good guess/idea. i can still remember the look of the film/the way that it was shot. i saw it in the mid-60's. it had the look however of a low budget 1950's film; perhaps universal-international. it was shown on a local channel and was not part of that channel's major network programming. it came on like one saturday afternoon. that is why i think it was an older film. i have been looking for many years. every lead/clue leads to a dead end. even on films that i think might actually be it i can not find any clips on youtube or information elsewhere about it. i can not even find in-depth reviews of the films that i think might be it. i have read the plots to the films man afraid and strange intruder. at times i have thought that one or the other might be the film. i have always liked gloria talbot; she was in strange intruder. perhaps my admiration for her goes back to that. the thing that has really confounded my search is i saw it on a b/w tv. from my memory i can almost be for certain that it was shot in b/w just by the way it looked, but i can not be 100% for certain. if i remember correctly man afraid was shot in color.

thanks for sharing your childhood memories of that episode of hitchcock. i always enjoying reading stuff like that. yes, it is odd how we respond to things differently at different stages of our lives.

 

i greatly appreciate you and your efforts. Sharon49...you are the best. john h. runion

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I think I found your movie

 

Is this it?

 

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=91394

 

Step Down To Terror 1958

 

"Later, Johnny drives over Doug's bike, and although he claims it was an accident, Helen realizes he has done it on purpose. Confused and suspicious, she confronts Mike at his hotel and learns that Johnny may be a murderer but that another man is also suspected of the crime. Helen returns home, where Lily is visiting with Johnny, and sneaks into his room, but finds only the charred remnants of the newspaper article. She races to the library to read the paper, and there discovers that a serial killer of wealthy widows has recently murdered a woman named Janice Dawson"

 

Read the full synopsis at bottom

 

If it is, I found it by putting the following into Google "movie boys bike mother widow car drives over"

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wow! that sure sounds like it! now i must search this film out to confirm it. i believe that it is. thank you for your efforts. that is quite a bit of detective work on your part. that was a great move to google all of those key words. i have never had any good fortune when i try to do that. thank you very much; i greatly appreciate it. you have helped to fill in a missing puzzle piece of my childhood. several years ago i went on a similar search and discovered another vague memory of my childhood:richard carlson in the maze. best wishes. take care. you are the coolest! john

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I rarely will say this, but don't go out of your way to find it. Spend your money instead on a DVD of Hitchcock's SHADOW OF A DOUBT of which STEP DOWN TO TERROR is a remake.

 

I will say though that the unheralded Charles Drake is quite good as a replacement for Joseph Cotten. He deserved better than he got overall.

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thanks for the warning, clore. yes, i love shadow of a doubt. i have seen it many times. in fact, except for psycho it is my favorite hitchcock film. thanks for the additional information as well. i would, however, still like to see step down to terror...just for old times sake. thanks again. best wishes. take care. :) john

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John, for my part, you most welcome. I enjoy searching for things, and my hat's off to the sleuth who googled just the right keywords. I had some combinations like that, but just not the right ones in the right order. Congratulations to your "Sherlock Holmes" for some excellent detective work!

 

And also, I second the recommendation for Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt." Here, again, is a perfect example of Hitchcock taking the everyday and turning it an object of terror.

 

I know how you feel about watching films we remember from our youth. "The Bad Seed" did that for me -- brought back memories of a terrible little girl! This movie is still scary for me, in a pyschological way, but the closing, when each of the actors take their screen bows, is hilarious and adds some comic relief. By the way, the actress who played the mother of that little nasty Rhoda was the sister of the "other" television Maverick -- not James Garner, but the other one. I'll think of the name after I post this. Ohhhh -- I just remembered: Jack Kelly!

 

So glad you finally got an answer to your long-time question.

 

Sharon

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thanks again Sharon49! i appreciate your efforts. yes, i really like shadow of a doubt. besides psycho, it is my fave hitchcock. i have never seen the bad seed, but i have wanted to for a long time. i have heard that the shocking ending was studio imposed to provide morality to the story. the actress who played the bad seed later as an adult appeared in a couple of low budget horror films. i think she was playing a psycho mom, not child this time. i never saw those films. at one time jack kelly was in politics. thanks for the reply. great to hear from you. your friend, john h. runion :)

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Hope it is the one. :)

 

I definitely think you should try to find a copy. I have many favorite movies that are not "great" movies, but have a significance for me and I love them

 

That is what I love about noir/gangster movies- so many B or C movies that I just love

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thank you for the reply WonderMoon. yes, i have all ready begun my search! :) i just now went over to sinister cinema's site...to no avail! :( ...but i also know of many other sites i can check out, so perhaps i will be able to locate this film and finally see it again. yes, there are many films that i love which are undisputed classics and then there are films that are classics to me! most of the great noir films were b-movies and not released by the majors. noirs have always lived in the shadows! take care. john

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