Thursday, November 17, 2016

You Had Better Fear These Neighbors, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                         The actors are Paul Stewart and Ruth Roman, in their roles as Joe and Jean Kellerson, in the 1949 Bobby Driscoll  film classic, "The Window."  It was released in 1949, but actually filmed in 1947, which accounts for Bobby Driscoll looking younger than 12, unless he was small for his age.  This film, together with "So Dear To My Heart," one of Disney's most beautiful and underrated live action films, won Driscoll a Special Juvenile Oscar for the Outstanding Child Actor of 1949.

                                           But the Kellersons are true Bitches Of The Week. They are a pair of murderous grifters, of which the Woodrys (Tommy's--that Bobby Driscoll--parents) are unaware. They come and go, and are polite enough, but at night Jean Kellerson, in fake fur and seamed stockings befitting a real tramp--look how much she looks like a real trollop; I just LOVE it--prowls downtown dives for male victims to bring home, drink till they pass out, and then rob them.

                                             On the night in question, things go awry. The guy wakes up, sees he is being robbed, Joe Kellerson comes out and fights him, with Jean stabbing the guy in the back with the scissors.

                                                What a pair of bitches.  What follows is a grim variation on the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" story--Tommy keeps telling the adults in his life what he saw, but because he is an imaginary kid, no one believes him--except, of course, the Kellersons, who come after him.

                                                    There is this scene, where they force him into a taxi, and while Jean leans forward so no one sees, Joe Kellerson punches the kid, knocking him out.  I cannot believe the censors let this get on the screen; seven years later Patty McCormack had to be killed off in "The Bad Seed," but here it is OK to belt a kid??????????? What was Hollywood thinking?????????????

                                                       Maybe this is why the film did not get released till 1949.  It was too dark and difficult, for the marketing department to deal with.

                                                         Jean has a moment of softness when she refuses to allow Joe to let Tommy teeter off the fire escape ledge.  This sets the climactic chase in motion, with Joe falling to his death, and Jean getting trapped in some rafters when the stairs collapse, but is she saved, or what?
The only criticism I have with the film is that it is not known what happens to her.

                                                             The scenes where Tommy is alone, and hears the Kellersons pacing above him, plus the scene where Jean walks down the fire escape with a flashlight, trying to find Tommy, are truly nail biting.

                                                               The Kellersons are something, and Stewart and Roman play them to the hilt. But, I am telling you, girls, if you get neighbors like these bitches, either MOVE or call the police immediately.

                                                                  Who knows what you might witness?????????????????


Videolaman said...

This is an AMAZINGLY nasty film considering the era it was made: absolutely no pandering whatsoever is given to "the pure innocence of children, who are as inviolable as the saints above". The child is presented neutrally as the annoying little putz most children are considered to be by most adults (including their own parents at times). The grifter couple is also presented almost neutrally, as predatory animals: they do what they do to survive, their victims lured by their own stupid lust. Neither really wants to murder a child, OTOH he is a yappy threat that must be eliminated, so...

One of my favorite "obscure" film noirs that almost nobody knows of or discusses anymore. Aside from "Night Of The Hunter", I believe its the only noir with a child protagonist. To this day, only a tiny handful of films have followed "The Window" template of the stalked morally-ambiguous child: by the mid-1950s, the American concept of children had tilted irrevocably towards "precious fetish objects" (which perversely led to them be MORE victimized in real life).

The Raving Queen said...

This film truly frightened me as a child, but
it was fascinating nonetheless. The idea of
such evil living overhead was really scary to
me, who had not lived in an apartment yet.