Three teenagers, led by psychopathic Jess Reber, break into an isolated farmhouse and murder its prosperous owner whose secretary, Linda Atlas, witnesses the crime. The three thugs decide to hold her hostage. Detective Tony Atlas, perplexed by the sudden disappearance of Betty, his estranged wife, tries desperately to locate her.
Les Adams <[email protected]>
User Reviews: "The Shadow on the Window" is a rather anonymous and insignificant 50s drama/thriller, but it’s engaging enough for as long as it lasts, thanks to a few interesting story ideas and a decent cast. I’m sure that director William Asher envisioned making a fantastic hostage thriller with film-noir echoes, in the vein of "The Desperate Hours" that was released two years earlier, but he eventually had to settle for a modest B-movie without spectacular action footage or Humphrey Bogarts in the cast. Little 7-year-old Petey accompanies his mother to a large and remote farmhouse. It’s her first working day as a secretary for a wealthy, elderly businessman, while Petey plays outside in the garden. Unfortunately enough, three ruthless young thugs decided that today they would invade the home of the old man and rob him. Just when little Petey looks through the window, he witnesses how the man is brutally killed by the assailants. Petey promptly goes into a severe state of shock, runs off into the streets and gets picked up by friendly truck drivers. While his mother is kept hostage by unprepared but extremely dangerous criminals, Petey is reunited with his father and police detective Tony Atlas but he remains in shock and unable to explain what is happening to her. It’s definitely a good plot for a tense and forceful "race-against-the-clock" thriller, but the screenplay nevertheless suffers from a couple of defaults and clichés. I really don’t understand, for example, why the hoodlums remain in the house or why one of them has to be a sensitive one. The leader of the pack, John Drew Barrymore, tries really hard to look handsome and nihilistic, and he probably dreamed of becoming the next James Dean. The little kid who portrayed Petey, on the other hand, became quite famous thanks to his role in the TV-series "Leave it to the Beaver".