THE WINDOW (1949) B/W 74m dir: Ted Tetzlaff
w/Barbara Hale, Bobby Driscoll, Arthur Kennedy, Paul Stewart, Ruth Roman, Anthony Ross, Richard Benedict, Jim Nolan, Ken Terrell, Lee Phelps
From The Movie Guide: "Set in the tenement section of New York's Lower East Side, this incredibly tense nail-biter stars Driscoll as a young boy who has a habit of crying wolf. One night, while trying to beat the heat by making his bed on the fire escape, he climbs up to the next floor and sees Stewart and Roman murder a drunken seaman, Benedict. Of course, no one, not even the boy's parents (Kennedy and Hale), believes Driscoll when he tells what he has seen, since they all assume that this is just another of the boy's tales. Danger lurks.
"Based on a story by Cornell Woolrich (whose writing was also the basis of for Hitchcock's similar REAR WINDOW), THE WINDOW presents a frightening vision of helplessness, vividly conveying childish frustration at being dismissed or ignored by one's parents. Director and one-time cameraman Tetzlaff adroitly injects a maximum of suspense into the film, enabling the audience to identify with Driscoll's predicament and, interestingly, to view his parents as evil, almost as evil as the murderers themselves. Having photographed Hitchcock's NOTORIOUS just three years before, Tetzlaff had, without a shadow of a doubt, learned something of his suspense-building craft from the master of that art (as did just about every working director). By casting the 12-year-old Driscoll, star of such heart-warming Disney pictures as SONG OF THE SOUTH and SO DEAR TO MY HEART, Tetzlaff was able to twist the idyllic Disney image of childhood into a nightmare world of death and violence, in which parents and neighbors are the child's worst fears come true. Adding to the film's effect is the on-location photography and the dark ambiance of the tenements, where evil and death seem to lurk in every shadow, where the seaman's corpse is found, and where the pursued boy is nearly killed. (In a perverse twist of fate, it was in an abandoned, crumbling New York City tenement that actor Driscoll was found dead some 20 years later, the victim of an apparent drug overdose.) THE WINDOW, which cost only $210,000 to produce and made many times that at the box office, was voted the best mystery film of the year by the Mystery Writers of America. Editor (Frederick] Knudtson was nominated for an Academy Award, while Driscoll was named Outstanding Juvenile Actor and given a miniature statuette. An exceptional film."