Homme-fatale, Van Heflin, seduces lonely housewife, Evelyn Keyes, and murders her husband for the woman and the inheritance. The dirty underbelly of the American dream exposed to scourging desert winds.
The screenplay of Joseph Losey’s The Prowler (1951 – Horizon Pictures), was written by blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who also wrote another film noir script, Gun Crazy (1950). The Prowler is a sordid tale of passion, entrapment, and betrayal. Suburbia cast as a dark nightmare, where the predator comes disguised as protector. Bravura performances from the two leads carry a flawed script forward to a classic denouement at the base of a tailings dump on the dusty outskirts of a ghost-town. Losey’s direction is unforgiving. Each squalid act of the protagonist is forecast in tight claustrophobic framing that is almost suffocating. Finally justice propels the action out into the desert.