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COMPANY SHE KEEPS, THE (aka: THE WALL OUTSIDE) (director: John Cromwell; writer: story and screenplay by Ketti Frings; cinematographer: Nicholas Musuraca; editor: Robert Swink; music: Leigh Harline; cast: Lizabeth Scott (Joan Wilburn), Jane Greer (Diane Stuart aka Mildred Lynch), Dennis O’Keefe (Larry Collins), Fay Baker (Tilly Thompson), John Hoyt (Judge Kendall), James Bell (Mr. Neeley), Don Beddoe (Detective Jamieson), Bert Freed (Smitty, plainclothesman), Irene Tedrow (Mrs. Seeley), Marjorie Wood (Mrs. Haley), Marjorie Crossland (Mrs. Griggs), Virginia Farmer (Mrs. Harris); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: John Houseman; RKO; 1951)
“Stiff melodrama.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

John Cromwell (“The Racket”/”Dead Reckoning”/”Caged”)directs this heavy-handed, contrived and stiff melodrama. The weak screenplay byKetti Frings keeps things dull.Despite two heavyweight noir ladies in leading roles, Jane Greer and Liz Scott, it comes off as a forced liberal pic on the criminal justice system and awkward love story.

Set in L.A., where dedicated parole officer Joan Wilburn (Lizabeth Scott) deals with hard-boiled embittered parolee Diane Stuart (Jane Greer), a career criminal who served two years for shoplifting and has three more years of parole. The conniving ex-con gets a job through her parole officer as a nurse on the nightshift and lures newspaper columnistLarry Collins (Dennis O’Keefe), Joan’s boyfriend, to be her main squeeze.The self-sacrificing Joan is disheartened to lose her beloved Larry, but is so saintly she goes out of her way to allow the two to come together.

The pic is of no interest, and considering all the talent involved it’s very disappointing.

The unlikable character played by Greer wins in the end, which didn’t connect with most viewers. It’s one of the main reasons the film bombed critically and at the box-office.

Trivia mavens, take note that the lady in the Union Station terminal with the two kids is Dorothy Bridges, the wife of actor Lloyd Bridges. The two tots are their own children. Beau is the troublesome older son and the infant is his brother Jeff.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”