48 user 51 critic

The Prowler (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | 25 May 1951 (USA)
When Susan Gilvray reports a prowler outside her house police officer Webb Garwood investigates and sparks fly. If only her husband wasn't in the way.


Joseph Losey


Robert Thoeren (story), Hans Wilhelm (story) | 2 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Van Heflin ... Webb Garwood
Evelyn Keyes ... Susan Gilvray
John Maxwell ... Bud Crocker
Katherine Warren ... Grace Crocker (as Katharine Warren)
Emerson Treacy ... William Gilvray
Madge Blake ... Martha Gilvray
Wheaton Chambers Wheaton Chambers ... Doctor James
Robert Osterloh ... Coroner
Sherry Hall Sherry Hall ... John Gilvray
Louise Lorimer ... Motel Manager


In a fancy suburb in California, the gorgeous housewife Susan Gilvray finds a prowler outside her house late one night and she calls the police. Officer Webb Garwood and his partner answer the call but do not find anyone. Later Webb returns to Susan's house with the pretext of checking if everything is OK. Susan invites him in to have coffee with her. Webb soon learns that Susan is married to John Gilvray, a middle-aged broadcaster of a late night radio show. They also discover that they are from the same hometown. Webb makes a pass at Susan and even though she tries to put him off they soon start a love affair. When John becomes suspicious Susan ends her relationship with Webb. Though difficult Webb stays away from Susan. Without Susan's knowledge Webb plots a scheme to get rid of John; he simulates a scenario where John is "accidently" shot dead. There is an inquest and it is ruled that John Gilvray's death was not intentional. Webb quits the police-force a job he was never happy ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She had to keep THE PROWLER from telling... See more »


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Did You Know?


Uncredited producer John Huston conceived this project as a star vehicle for his estranged wife, Evelyn Keyes, as a sort of parting gift. She had long complained about her lack of challenging roles while under contract at Columbia. They were divorced by the time production began. See more »


When Webb drives out of the ghost town to chase after the doctor, the image is flipped. This may have been done to use previously shot footage but keep screen movement consistent going to and from the ghost town i.e. arriving from right to left and departing from left to right. This manipulation is revealed, and a continuity error created, because Webb is seen from the exterior shot sitting on the right side (of a left-hand drive car) as it drives past, but he is sitting on the correct left side in the very next shot taken from inside the car in the back seat. See more »


[first lines]
Bud Crocker: [to Webb while they walk up to the house] Quite a hacienda.
[rings doorbell]
Susan Gilvray: Oh, thank you so much for coming.
Bud Crocker: You report a prowler ma'am?
Susan Gilvray: Yes, about twenty minutes ago. I looked up and there was this man looking in the window.
Bud Crocker: Which window?
Susan Gilvray: It was one of the back windows.
Bud Crocker: Well there's an empty lot on that side isn't there?
Susan Gilvray: Yes. When he saw that I'd seen him, he jumped away from the window and I-I phoned you.
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Featured in The Cost of Living: Creating the Prowler (2011) See more »


Lyrics by Dick Mack
Music by Lyn Murray
Sung by Robert Carroll (as Bob Carroll)
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User Reviews

I Will Be Seeing You, Susan
14 October 2014 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In California, the gorgeous housewife Susan Gilvray (Evelyn Keyes) glances at a prowler outside her house in a wasteland and she calls the police. Officer Webb Garwood (Van Heflin) and his partner attend the call and do not find anyone. Later Webb returns to her house with the pretext of checking if everything is OK with Susan and she invites him to drink a coffee with her. Soon he learns that Susan is married with John Gilvray (Sherry Hall), a middle age broadcaster of a late night radio show. Further, they discover that they are from the same homeland. Webb hits on Susan and soon they have a love affair. But when John suspects of Susan, their relationship comes to an end.

Webb plots a scheme to get rid off John and he kills John simulating an accident. Webb goes on trial and is considered not-guilty for the murder of John. Webb quits the police and manipulates John's brother to get close to Susan again. He learns that John could not have children and their marriage was not perfect. Webb meets Susan and convinces her that he is really innocent. Soon they get married and they buy a motel to start a new life. But in the wedding night, Susan discloses that she is four months pregnant. How could they explain the baby to the press after the publicity around the case?

"The Prowler" is a great but unknown Film-Noir directed by Joseph Losey with a story of adultery and greed. Webb Garwood is a sordid frustrated man that manipulates the housewife Susan Gilvray, who has a loveless marriage without children with an older man, to marry him. The conclusion is moralist but does not spoil the story. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Cúmplice das Sombras" ("Accomplice of the Shadows")

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Release Date:

25 May 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cost of Living See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Horizon Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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