Format: TCM Noir Alley
Director: Rudolph Mate
Ellen Corby - domestic
A mash-up of two kinds of mid-20th century films, this one is quasi-noir, I guess, mostly because it echoes other films which are definitely noir. But it's one part "trapped in a location with a criminal and his organization" which you'll know from The Petrified Forest to Key Largo, and one part "hey, kids: psychology!" - which pervaded any number of movies in this era, from Nightmare Alley to Miracle on 34th Street to Highwall.
But, basically, a very young William Holden plays desperado Al Walker, whose gang just busted him out of prison, killing a couple of guards and a warden en route. He and his gang (and his girl, played by Adele Jergens) hide out in the home of Lee J Cobb and Lois "Miss Moneypenny, herself" Maxwell, where they're entertaining a few guests.
It becomes a psychological cat and mouse game as Cobb tries to both save his own skin and that of his guests, and maybe cure the insane murderer, so long as he's got a few hours to hang, anyway.
It's absolutely buckwild how both medicine and therefore psychology were seen in this era as quick miracle cures that could happen overnight. I guess when the answer is "20 years ago we didn't have penicillin", everything seems possible.
As a "we're all trapped in here with criminals" movie, you can do much better. As a "mid-20th Century psychology" movie... it's just under par. But, Lee J. Cobb makes for a convincing doctor, Adele Jergens is terrific as Holden's girl. Holden is very good, himself, but he's early here and when you know movies where he's able to do more and with better dialog, this is definitely a less notable role for him.
I'm fascinated with the gigantic country/ woodland getaway homes of this period. I've seen dozens of movies with country houses like this, from Christmas in Connecticut to many-a-noir, and the movies always place actors in gigantic, spacious cabin/ houses that read as "set for a play" much more than a dwelling, and always seem bigger than anyone's actual home.
The movie also has Ellen Corby, who played a domestic in a dozen movies I've seen - and does so again here, but she's always around in some capacity as a "regular" person - be it a nurse, whatever. I need to start an Ellen Corby tracker, because she went uncredited for years and was maybe the hardest working woman in Hollywood for decades. Yet, no one ever talks about her. But she has 265 IMDB credits. 265!