Storm Fear – 1955 – Not Actually A Review

A family–whose marital relationships are already strained, given wife Liz’s beauty, hired hand Hank’s obvious crush on her, husband Fred’s illness…and personal failures…and –hits real trouble when eighty thousand dollars and three hoodlums on the lam show up. And one of said bums is the kid Davey’s Uncle Charlie…and a potential strong contender for Davey’s actual father.
And then they get snowed in, and the fun begins.

Now me, I’d have called the cops to begin with.

– Who plays a harmonica at breakfast? That’s cause for murder if ever there was.
– Liz protesting to Hank that she’s a good mother, how dare he! is a pretty affecting scene (and then Charlie facepalms when Fred walks in.)
– Don’t come between a despairing author and his fireplace. That way lies madness.
– The ditzy moll actually being kind of a nice girl (or at least just wanting to) makes her role ultimately pretty tragic. The kid has a pretty good role and does well in the job. Cornel Wilde does pretty well and makes himself sympathetic as much as is possible for a bank robber on the run manipulating an eleven year old into guiding him across the mountains. Dan Duryea, on the other hand, is embittered, a failure at every level of his being, gets pushed into the background, and never given a chance to redeem himself.
– Charlie reminding Liz that he used to–and apparently still can–whistle have her come running is a low blow. Apparently Cornel Wilde and Jean Wallace were real-life husband and wife. She’s very pretty but spends the entire movie hanging on to a stony-faced but raw-edged emotionalism which is fine for a while but then starts to grate.
– While it starts out pretty strong with the psychodrama, the film starts to lose steam at the halfway mark; everything that could be said has been, and no apparent change has occured, so….
– ….And the final emotional resolution–a new family unit forming with the man Davey has already had a paternal relationship with–is kind of unsatisfying, given that poor Hank is barely in the picture any more than Duryea is.

Rated: The best brother is a pile of money.