14 user 7 critic

The Shadow on the Window (1957)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 6 March 1957 (USA)
Three young thugs rob a farmhouse, kill the owner and take his stenographer hostage but the woman's estranged husband, a police detective, starts investigating her disappearance.


William Asher


David P. Harmon (screenplay), John Hawkins (story) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview:
Philip Carey ... Detective Sgt. Tony Atlas (as Phil Carey)
Betty Garrett ... Linda Atlas
John Drew Barrymore ... Jess Reber (as John Barrymore Jr.)
Corey Allen ... Gil Ramsey
Gerald Sarracini Gerald Sarracini ... Joey Gomez
Jerry Mathers ... Petey Atlas
Sam Gilman ... Sgt. Paul Denke
Rusty Lane ... Capt. McQuade
Ainslie Pryor Ainslie Pryor ... Dr. Hodges
Paul Picerni ... Bigelow
William Leslie ... Stuart
Doreen Woodbury Doreen Woodbury ... Molly
Ellie Kent Ellie Kent ... Girl


Three teenagers, led by psychopathic Jess Reber, break into an isolated farmhouse and murder its prosperous owner whose secretary, Linda Atlas, witnesses the crime. The three thugs decide to hold her hostage. Detective Tony Atlas, perplexed by the sudden disappearance of Betty, his estranged wife, tries desperately to locate her. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


your eyes will open wide... at the terrifying things that happen in that room!


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 March 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Missing Witness See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Encore-Mystery Library Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Blake Edwards was originally signed to direct. See more »

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User Reviews

Decent Suspenser
1 April 2019 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Home invasion movies were popular during this period (1950's), maybe as a way of injecting fear into audiences from comfortably expanding suburbs. Here three young hoods invade an old man's home, kill him, while traumatizing the young son with his mother who's there as a stenographer. Unbeknownst to the hoods is that mom's the wife of a cop sergeant, so when the speechless boy is found, a police hunt is launched, led by the agonized husband father. So what will the quarreling hoods do with hostage mom as the cops close in.

It's an interesting cast with Barrymore Jr. as the murderous hood, Corey Allen from Rebel Without a Cause (1955) as the conflicted gang member, and Jerry Mathers of Leave It To Beaver (1957- 63) as the unfortunate boy. Also, probably shouldn't overlook actress Garrett as the mom, whose budding musical career was stymied by the Hollywood blacklist.

All in all, the flick's a pretty good suspenser of the sort that would soon transfer to TV, maybe The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Barrymore makes a convincingly nasty hood, while Garrett bears up as the terrified mom, even as Mathers manages a frozen face as the traumatized boy. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised his performance helped get him the defining Beaver role. There're also some good action sequences like the chase over rooftops that help pick up the indoor menace scenes. Also, battling among the three hoods offers interesting personality clashes, especially the woman-protecting Joey. Is he really stupid or just quietly enigmatic. On the whole, however, the 76-minutes is nothing special, but should keep watchers entertained as the crime drama plays out in fairly suspenseful fashion.

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