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  • TBC
  • 1953
  • 77 mins

Beware My Lovely

Beware My Lovely


A lonely woman hires a handyman, unaware that he is a deranged stalker. Thriller starring Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan


A Poverty Row picture shot by a journeyman filmmaker, Beware My Lovely stands apart from its B-movie brethren thanks to it being a forerunner of that perennially popular thriller sub-genre, the stalker movie. British-born actress Ida Lupino stars as Helen Gordon, a widow who seeks to stave off loneliness by hiring Howard Wilton (Ryan) to help out around the house. With stalker movies being in their infancy, Ms Gordon hasn't seen enough of the things to know that it's never a good idea to invite a stranger into your residence, especially when, as is the case here, they're not actually a friendly odd-job man but a psychopath who's become dangerously fixated upon your good self.

Tame by today's standards, Beware My Lovely must have caused the odd pulse to race in the pre-Psycho 1950s. That the film still generates the odd shiver is entirely down to its leading lady and her barking mad nemesis. A talented actress who became one of the first women to take up position in the director's chair, Ida Lupino's excellent as the nice woman with the most appalling instincts. Robert Ryan, meanwhile, performs his old trick of delivering a turn that's so much better than the movie requires. "I've made 80 movies," Ryan recalled in his twilight years, "and only 10 of them are any good!" While he probably wouldn't include Beware My Lovely in the latter category, Howard Wilton wouldn't look out of place amongst Ryan's greatest creations.

With bread-and-margarine director Harry Horner out of movies not long after Beware My Lovely's release, the other person who deserves praise for this modest gem is DP George E Diskant. A real master of high-contrast cinematography, Diskant's CV includes noir masterpieces like The Narrow Margin and They Live By Night. Of course, no one could confuse Horner's picture with either of these classics, but thanks to Diskant, it looks a helluva lot like both of them.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Taylor Holmes, Barbara Whiting, OZ Whitehead, Robert Ryan, Ida Lupino, James Willmas
  • Director: Harry Horner
  • Screen Writer: Mel Dinelli
  • Writer (Play): Mel Dinelli
  • Producer: Collier Young
  • Photographer: George E Diskant
  • Composer: Leith Stevens

In a nutshell

An efficient B-movie, Beware My Lovely's worth seeking out for its subject matter and Lupino and Ryan's performances.

by Richard Luck

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