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FEAR (director/writer: Alfred Zeisler; screenwriter: Dennis Cooper; cinematographer: Jackson Rose; editor: Ace Herman; cast: Warren William (Capt. Burke), Anne Gwynne (Eileen), Peter Cookson (Larry Crain), Nestor Paiva (Schaefer), Francis Pierlot (Prof. Morton Stanley), Johnny Strong (John), William Moss (Al), Darren McGavin (Chuck), Henry Clay (Steve), Almira Sessions (Mrs. Williams, Landlady), Ernie Adams (Painter); Runtime: 68; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lindsley Parsons; Monogram; 1946)
“Mildly satisfying but certainly not on a par with Dostoyevsky.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Alfred Zeisler directs this crime thriller, an adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Zeisler cowrites with Dennis Cooper, supplying this adequate interpretation with a twist psychological ending. For a cheaply made Monogram B-film, it’s mildly satisfying but certainly not on a par with Dostoyevsky.

Destitute medical student Larry Crain is depressed when his scholarship is removed. In order to make ends meet he’s forced to pawn his meager possessions with Professor Stanley. Larry imagines that Stanley is a mean-spirited miser and bludgeons him to death, blaming him for pretending to care but not really caring. But when visitors appear at the professor’s door, Larry panics leaving without taking the money. He also leaves important clues behind.

Larry’s luck changes when he meets the beautiful Eileen and takes her on a picnic. But Detective Schaefer hounds him and keeps asking him probing questions. Police Captain Burke brings Larry in for questioning and treats him as a suspect, playing cat-and-mouse games. An article entitled “Man Above the Law” for a periodical Larry wrote is published and they send him a check for a $1,000. The university is so pleased with the article that they renew the scholarship. But the article stating that exceptional people are above the law only makes the police more suspicious and they continue to pressure Larry about the murder.

REVIEWED ON 11/16/2004 GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”