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FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG(director/writer: Arthur Lubin; screenwriter: Lenore Coffee/Dorothy Davenport/from an original story The Interruption by W.W. Jacobs/adapted by Arthur Pierson; cinematographer: Christopher Challis; editor: Alan Osbiston; music: Benjamin Frankel; cast: Stewart Granger (Stephen Lowry), Jean Simmons (Lily Watkins), Bill Travers (David Macdonald), Finlay Currie (Inspector Peters), Ronald Squire (Alfred Travers), Belinda Lee (Elizabeth Travers), Peter Bull (Brasher), Barry Keegan (Constable Burke), Margery Rhodes (Mrs. Park), Norman Macowan (Grimes), Sheila Manahan (Rose Moresby), William Hartnell (Herbert Moresby), Victor Maddern (Jones), Cameron Hall (Corcoran); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: M. J. Frankovich; Columbia Pictures; 1955-UK)
“The plot strains credibility.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This efficiently made but dullish Victorian turn-of-the-century London thriller, a variation of Gaslight, has an all-British cast and the real-life husband and wife team of Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger. Arthur Lubin (“Prison Break”/”Impact”/”Francis in the Navy”) directs in a workmanlike manner from an original story, The Interruption, by W.W. Jacobs; it’s written by Lenore Coffee and Dorothy Davenport.

Social climber Stephen Lowry (Stewart Granger) uses rat poison to knock off his wealthy nagging hypochondriac wife of ten years and inherits her wealth and the mansion, and gets away with the crime when his wife’s death is attributed to a gastric condition. Scullery maid Lily Watkins (Jean Simmons) observed Stephen poisoning his wife and blackmails him to stay on as head housekeeper, over her despised nemesis– the cook (Margery Rhodes) and the elderly unfriendly butler Grimes, and to keep his wife’s precious jewels.

Alfred Travers (Ronald Squire), Stephen’s friend and business confidant, offers him a partnership in his firm. His attractive daughter Elizabeth (Belinda Lee) pines for Stephen, but he remains in mourning. Young barrister David Macdonald (Bill Travers) pines for Elizabeth, but she opts for Stephen and is willing to wait for whenever it is he comes out of his funk.

There’s an affair between the treacherous housekeeper and the menacing master; then there are several devilish surprises and a lot of cat-and-mouse games before both of the evildoers get their comeuppances.

The fine acting by the ensemble cast, the eerie foggy setting, the superb Technicolor camerawork by Christopher Challis and the rich Victorian atmosphere all help make this somewhat passable entertainment even if the plot strains credibility.

REVIEWED ON 12/30/2007 GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”