Footsteps in the Fog

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Footsteps in the Fog
Footsteps in the Fog VideoCover.jpeg
Directed by Arthur Lubin
Written by Lenore J. Coffee
Dorothy Davenport
Arthur Pierson
Based onshort story by W. W. Jacobs
Produced by M. J. Frankovich
Maxwell Setton
Starring Stewart Granger
Jean Simmons
Cinematography Christopher Challis
Edited by Alan Osbiston
Music by Benjamin Frankel
Production
company
Frankovich Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 1955 (1955-06)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Box office552,430 admissions (France) [1]

Footsteps in the Fog is a 1955 British Technicolor film noir crime film starring Stewart Granger and Jean Simmons, with a screenplay co-written by Lenore Coffee and Dorothy Davenport, and released by Columbia Pictures. The film is based on the short story "The Interruption" by W. W. Jacobs. [2]

Contents

It was shot at Shepperton Studios, with sets designed by the art director Wilfred Shingleton.

Plot

After poisoning and killing his wife, the master of the house, Stephen Lowry (Granger), is blackmailed by his Cockney maid, Lily Watkins (Jean Simmons), who demands promotion. As she steadily takes the place of his dead wife, Lowry attempts to murder her as well. While attempting to murder Lily, by following someone who looked like her through the fog, he mistakenly kills Constable Burke's wife and gets chased by an angry mob, which he evades. Lily returns home and Stephen learns of his mistake. Some local bar-goers saw him murder Mrs Burke and Stephen is put on trial, but their claims are dismissed after they are revealed to drink a lot and Lily lies to provide an alibi. The main testimony however is Lily's - who swears he never left the house - she does this as she wants to marry him.

Although Lowry owes Lily his life, his eyes are on another woman - Elizabeth Travers - the daughter of a wealthy man - and object of affection of his lawyer. He tells Lily it is part of a plot to gain money and he will use the money to take Lily and himself to America. He suggests he will marry her but demands she retrieves a letter she sent to her sister telling of Lowry's actions. But Herbert, her sister's husband rescues the letter from the fire. He goes to Lowry's lawyer and tries to extort £500 for the incriminating letter.

Lowry feigns illness and sends the maid to fetch the doctor. She says she will return urgently with the doctor within five minutes. He calculates this will be enough time for him to frame the maid by drinking the poison that he used to kill his own wife and planting it and his wife's jewelry in the maid's room.

Lily is, however, detained by the police as a "tell-all" letter she has written to her sister, to safeguard herself after the master's failed plot to kill her, surfaces.

Lowry's plan backfires - he is dying. He gets Burke the local policeman to run for the doctor. Meanwhile Lily's handwriting is compared to the letter. Lily is told it doesn't match - but it does. A warrant is sworn for the arrest of Lowry. Lily returns too late, and the doctor declares it is too late to save him. Lily pieces together the situation, realising that Stephen never loved her, then is arrested by police at the scene as Lowry accuses her of poisoning both him and his wife.

Cast

Production

Development

The film was based on a story "The Interruption", first published in the July 4, 1925, issue of Liberty magazine and later collected in Sea Whispers in 1926. Arthur Lubin bought the rights to the story in August 1949 for his own company. Several parties were interested in the story. The rights holders liked the job Lubin did on Two Sinners based on the story of a friend of theirs, Warwick Deeping. Lubin hoped to make the film in October 1949 from a script by Dorothy Reid with Glenn Ford starring. [3]

However Lubin instead made Francis the Talking Mule and became busy doing comedies with animals. He continued to seek finance for The Interruption saying he wanted to "remind producers that he can direct people too." [4] In August 1951 he said he said signed Leonard Styles to play the barrister and wanted to make the movie after It Grows on Trees. [5] In April 1952 Lubin said Dorothy Reid was writing a script and that he hoped to star Jean Simmons or Jennifer Jones in the female lead and Robert Donat in the male lead. [6]

In July 1952 Lubin said he was about to sign a deal with James Woolf of Romulus Films. [7] He visited England in August seeking to raise finance and hoped for Terence Rattigan to write the script. [8]

In October 1953 Lubin, who had just made Star of India in England, said he planned to shoot it in that country as The Interrupted with Glynis Johns starring. [9] In March 1954 the film was called Deadlock and Lubin had sent a script to Alec Guinness. [10] Then in June 1954 Lubin said Columbia had agreed to finance and that Maureen O'Hara and George Sanders would star. [11]

Then in October Lubin announced the stars would be Stewart Granger and Jean Simmons and the film would be made by Mike Frankovich's company, Film Locations. [12] Later the title would be changed to Rebound [13] before Footsteps in the Fog.

The film was to be the second in a four picture slate from Frankovich's Film Locations. The first was Fire Over Africa. The third was to be Ghosts of Drury Lane directed by Lubin. The fourth was to be Matador starring and directed by JoséFerrer. [14] The third and fourth films were not made.

Shooting

Arthur Lubin enjoyed making the film. "Mike [Frankovich] was a very nice person to work for", he recalled. "I had problems with the leading man, Stewart Granger, who hated me. He didn't like anything. He would go to Frankovich and say 'Mike, if Lubin doesn't stop annoying me I'm going to be sick tomorrow.' But miraculously the picture turned out to be a good one." [15]

Reception

Gene Blottner said the movie is a "good Gothic noir" with both Simmons and Grainger "believably playing vile characters." [16]

Lubin wanted to follow it with another film for Frankovich, Ghosts of Drury Lane. [17] However it was not made.

Variety called it "humdrum, rarely exciting." [18]

Diabolique magazine called it "an unpretentious, enjoyable little thriller... it doesn’t hit great expressionistic heights but is lots of fun, and it's a shame box office receptions weren’t strong enough to allow him do more work in this line." [19]

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References

  1. Box office information for Stewart Granger films in France at Box Office Story
  2. "Footsteps in the Fog – Screenplay Info". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  3. Schallert, Edwin (15 August 1949). "Super Oscar Winners Likely to Join Forces; Latin Gains Star Rating". Los Angeles Times. p. B7.
  4. THOMAS M. PRYOR (2 September 1951). "HOLLYWOOD DIGEST: Change in Taft–Hartley Act Sought by Actors Guild--R.K.O. Survey--Addenda European Canvass Songstress Returns Out of a Rut". New York Times. p. 57.
  5. Schallert, Edwin (15 December 1951). "Drama: Louis Jourdan Stars in 'Happy Time;' Hugo Haas Will Play Pianist". Los Angeles Times. p. 9.
  6. HEDDA HOPPER (1 April 1952). "'Rogue's March' Will Claim Peter Lawford". Los Angeles Times. p. 16.
  7. Schallert, Edwin (21 July 1952). "Drama: Marines Again Will Land in 'Beachhead;' Singing Dog on Program". Los Angeles Times. p. B9.
  8. HOWARD THOMPSON (31 August 1952). "RANDOM OBSERVATIONS ON PICTURES AND PEOPLE". New York Times. p. X3.
  9. Scheuer, Philip K. (27 October 1953). "Lancaster Limping, but Production Plans Spurt; Glynis Will 'Interrupt'". Los Angeles Times. p. B9.
  10. "Drama: Lubin Plans Fifth in 'Francis' Series". Los Angeles Times. 25 March 1954. p. A8.
  11. Schallert, Edwin (18 June 1954). "Sanders and Maureen O'Hara Thriller Stars; Price Will Coproduce". Los Angeles Times. p. B7.
  12. "WARNERS TO CUT 'A STAR IS BORN'". The New York Times. 23 October 1954. p. 13.
  13. Schallert, Edwin (24 January 1955). "Marmont Future Newly Assured; Two Directors Win Ace Assignments". Los Angeles Times. p. B9.
  14. Gilbert, George (2 February 1955). "Arthur Lubin's Credo on Directing". Variety. p.  22.
  15. Davis, Roland L. (2005). Just Making Movies: Company Directors on the Studio System. University Press of Mississippi. p. 184.
  16. Gene Blottner (2015). Columbia Noir. McFarland. p. 82. ISBN   9781476617619 via Google Books.
  17. "British Dialects". Variety. 20 July 1955. p.  3, 11.
  18. Review of film at Variety
  19. Vagg, Stephen (14 September 2019). "The Cinema of Arthur Lubin". Diabolique Magazine.