Review: Shadow on the Wall


Shadow on the Wall is a film noir from 1950 with star Ann Sothern.  Sothern was at the end of her MGM contract and this was the second to last movie she did for them.  She was around 40 and was considered over the hill in those days.  Of course Sothern would prove MGM wrong and go on to success on television and even nominated for an Oscar in her last performance at the age of 78.

This film is based on a story by Hannah Lees and Lawrence Bachmann called Death in the Doll’s House.


It looks like both the movie and the book are hard to come by.  I was lucky enough to catch the film on TCM.

The story has Zachary Scott playing loving father and husband coming home from 6 weeks on the road working.  He soon discovers his wife is having an affair.  The twist is she is having an affair with her own sister’s fiance!  Scott hints at the affair in front of his sister-in-law played by Sothern and then confronts his wife.  His wife knocks Scott out in the confrontation thinking she has killed her husband.  At this time sister-in-law Sothern comes back to the home, her sister asks for her help thinking her husband is dead.  A fight ensues and Sothern kills her sister, all while the brother-in-law and husband of the dead sister is unconscious.  Scott takes the fall for the murder and Sothern goes free.  The only problem is the young daughter of 6 played by Gigi Perreau may have witnessed the whole thing!  Perreau goes to a children’s hospital for psychiatric help.  Now Sothern has to stop her niece from remembering what really happened.

I know a little confusing but it is a web of an interesting story.  The other interesting part of this noir is our main star and character is actually the killer and we know it the whole time.  We just don’t know if she is going to get away with it or not, and if she does how is she going to do it?  Another murder? or two?

John McIntire and Nancy Davis play great roles as the doctors trying to help the young daughter and also feel Scott is innocent and they are trying to figure out who the guilty party is.  Nancy Davis maybe better known as Nancy Reagan, yes that Nancy Reagan, a role from the future First Lady.

This is a very good film noir with some interesting plot choices. Like the troubled child and our main character being a murderer.  This is worth finding for noir fans as well of fans of Ann Sothern.


Nancy Davis(Nancy Reagan) in Shadow on the Wall

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