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A Life at Stake (1954) [Film Noir] [Drama] – jj

A Life at Stake (1954) [Film Noir] [Drama]

If you like this movie and our channel, please subscribe: https://goo.gl/0qDmXe | “A Life at Stake” is an American Film Noir directed by Paul Guilfoyle. The film is also known as “Key Man”.

Down-on-his-luck Los Angeles architect and builder Edward Shaw (Keith Andes) is approached by Doris Hillman (Angela Lansbury) with a business proposal: buying land together, on which he would build houses that she would then sell, using her experience as a former real estate broker. Her husband, Gus Hillman, a wealthy businessman, would be willing to contribute half a million dollars as capital for the venture.

Doris quickly seems interested in more than a purely professional relationship. Shaw starts an affair with her and accepts the business offer. However, an accidental discovery leaves him convinced that the Hillmans’ interest lies less in the long-term profits of the venture than in the $175,000 key man insurance policy he took on himself as a precondition for the deal, and that an attempt on his life is imminent.

Madge, the younger sister of Doris, develops a romantic interest in Shaw as well. Without knowing what Doris has planned, she reveals to Shaw that her sister was married previously to a man who died in Wyoming when his car crashed over a bridge. Shaw ends up drugged by Gus Hillman and barely keeps his car from going off a cliff.

The police are skeptical about his story and the insurance company refuses to cancel the policy, Hillman having portrayed Shaw as a man who is trying to steal his wife. Madge teams with Shaw to try to foil her sister’s scheme, but Doris lures him to a mountain cabin and shoots him with a gun. A wounded Shaw sees both Hillmans struggle then fall to their deaths through a clifftop doorway, just minutes before Madge and the cops arrive.

Directed by Paul Guilfoyle, produced by A.C. Burger (associate producer), Charles Maxwell (executive producer) and Hank McCune (producer), written by Russ Bender (screenplay) and Hank McCune (story idea), starring Angela Lansbury as Doris Hillman, Keith Andes as Edward Shaw, Douglass Dumbrille as Gus Hillman, Claudia Barrett as Madge Neilan, Jane Darwell as Landlady, Gavin Gordon as Sam Pearson, Charles Maxwell as Lt. Hoff, William Henry as Myles Norman, Kathleen Mulqueen as Mary, Dan Sturkie as Officer Biff, Jeane Wood as Mabel, the maid and Robert Haver as Mechanic.

Source: “A Life at Stake” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 13 June 2013. Web. 16 August 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Life_at_Stake.

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  1. this one rolled pretty good , excellent players on a slightly cliche story , great orchestration & camera work …but the direction was weird to moronic at times and the ending was so pat as to be plain stupid .
    Claudia Barrett (born Imagene Williams; November 3, 1929) was just a bit green , feeble "reading lines" , tryin way too hard to be dramatic in one scene but certainly drew the failing plot outa the muck at the right time and …Va Va Voom !
    Only 4 years younger than Angela but sure came across 15 years younger

  2. I stopped watching right when she said, "I'll get your coat" because it was obvious what was going to happen the rest of the movie. People who don't know how not to be nosey has a chemical imbalance.

  3. Clearly spoken, correct pronunciation, no needless sound in the background, i like those old movies to keep my English knowledge as a not native English speaker.

    By the way i have problems to understand new movies in my mother language, with mumbling actors, music and sounds mixed with spoken words, missing the good pronunciation of older movies. So for me it's easier to understand an old movie in English than a new movie in my native language. If it wouldn't be so sad, i could laugh about it. lol

  4. B Movie. Thank you for sharing.

    Spoiler alert

    The designer guy is dumb. He knows the 2 will try to kill him. He is falling sleep, but doesn't stop the car, and repeatedly avoids crash, shaken awake by near-collisions but continues driving.

    Whoever listens to a stupid scheme of a 21-yr-old.

    Terrible plots. Bad acting from designer guy. I like old movies, but not this one.

  5. Incredible watching these movies with Red Pill Knowledge and Awareness
    Movies includes:
    The Alpha Male- The Lead Actor
    The Beta Male- The Jealous Wealthy Husband
    The Hypergamous Female- Money driven, bitter, older women
    The Good Girl- Young, semi-naive, fresh, optimistic of love. (wife worthy)
    A movie that's relevant today.
    Alpha Male.

  6. I love unpredictable movies – and this was so bad it was unpredictable. LOVED it – also loved co-starring with Angela twice on Murder She Wrote. Very relaxed set – everyone loved her – very comfortable. Wish I would have seen this before MSW so I could have asked her her thoughts about this script.

  7. Love Angela Lansbury. After all once the studios broke up you had to make a living! The things dishonest people will. Do for money. Of course the guy in the movie had to fall for the obvious scam in the beginning. Made my blood chill…….

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