Talk About a Stranger (1952)

Genres - Drama, Mystery  |   Release Date - Apr 18, 1952 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 65 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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David Bradley's flawed but fascinating study of a young boy's paranoid suspicions about his new neighbor plays like an early blend of Blue Velvet and The Good Son. Young Bobby Fontaine (Billy Gray of Father Knows Best) is sure something malevolent is happening beneath the quiet surface of his small town, and neither Bradley's direction nor the wonderfully sinister cinematography of John Alton do anything to convince the viewer that Bobby may not be right. When Bobby's delusions grow from believing that mysterious neighbor Matlock (Kurt Kasznar) poisoned his dog into believing that he killed a man, the boy's behavior becomes increasingly destructive and detached from reality, presaging some of the more horror-tinged psychological thrillers of later years. That Bradley never really capitalizes on the possibilities owes more to the limitations of the source material (Charlotte Armstrong's short story The Enemy) than any flaws in Margaret Fitts' screenplay, but the film remains worthwhile as a hint of the directions in which the subgenre would later develop.