Storm Fear (1955)
Director: Cornel Wilde
Writer: Horton Foote based on STORM FEAR by Clinton Seeley
Stars: Cornel Wilde, Jean Wallace, Dan Duryea, Lee Grant, David Stollery, Dennis Weaver, Steven Hill and Chet Huntley.
Tagline: IT HITS LIKE A THUNDERBOLT!
A bad winter storm is coming. Fred Blake (Duryea), his wife Elizabeth (Wallace) and their son, David (Stollery) live in a remote mountainside farm house. Fred is a sickly and unhappy man. Just before the storm hits, Fred’s estranged brother, Charlie (Wilde) and two others show up. Charlie has been shot in the leg. The bullet is still lodged there. His companions are Benji (Hill), a nervous, bully and Edna (Grant). Obviously the three are on the run from the law.
As the storm hits, Fred learns that the three robbed a bank. A police officer was killed in the process. Charlie promises they will take off when the weather clears. But as the night progresses, we learn secrets that had been long buried. Worried that the family will become witnesses against them, Benji plans to kill them all, including Charlie.
It won’t be long until sunup…
Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…
Storm Fear marked Cornell Wilde’s feature film directorial debut.
Lee Grant had been nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in 1951’s The Detective. It was her first feature film. Because of Joseph McCarthy’s red scare, Grant was blacklisted and didn’t get another feature film role until Cornell Wilde cast her in Storm Fear. Grant would then go on to a long career as an actress, director and producer. She was nominated three more times for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, winning in 1976 for her role in Shampoo.
I was surprised to learn that Eddie Muller is not a fan of Storm Fear. I’m not one to argue with the Czar of Noir, but Storm Fear resonated with me.