Scared to Death (1947)

64-65 or 68 mins | Drama | 3 May 1947

Director:

Christy Cabanne

Producer:

William B. David

Cinematographer:

Marcel Le Picard

Editor:

George McGuire

Production Designer:

Harry Reif

Production Company:

Golden Gate Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film's working title was Accent on Horror . It is narrated throughout by the voice of actress Molly Lamont, who portrays the deceased "Laura Van Ee." After "Laura's" body is seen laid out on a table in the morgue, the character relates events leading to her ... More Less

The film's working title was Accent on Horror . It is narrated throughout by the voice of actress Molly Lamont, who portrays the deceased "Laura Van Ee." After "Laura's" body is seen laid out on a table in the morgue, the character relates events leading to her death. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Jul 1947.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 46
p. 22.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
21 Jun 1947.
---
Variety
7 May 47
p. 18.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Accent on Horror
Release Date:
3 May 1947
Production Date:
began late March 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Golden Gate Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 August 1946
Copyright Number:
LP963
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Cinecolor
Duration(in mins):
64-65 or 68
Length(in feet):
6,114
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11689
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In the Central City morgue, two autopsy surgeons examine the unmarked body of a female corpse and contemplate what could have killed her: Laura Van Ee is trapped in a loveless marriage to her husband Ward, who married her one night on a drunken dare. After receiving mysterious, threatening letters from Europe, Laura begins to believe that Ward and his father Joseph, a doctor whose specialty is mental illness, are trying to drive her insane and, as revenge, refuses to grant Ward a divorce. One day, Dr. Van Ee receives a visit from a woman reporter, who is acting on a tip that strange things have been happening at the house. Later, the doctor's cousin Leonide, a professor of magic, visits after an absence of twenty years, with his companion, a deaf-mute midget named Indigo. Leo was an inmate at the house when it was an institution for the insane, and after constructing countless secret passageways, he escaped and traveled to Europe. Ward now asks Leo's help in solving Laura's dilemma, and shows him a photograph that he found in Laura's room of a pair of Parisian dancers named Rene and Laurette, who are wearing green masks. The next morning, the maid, Lilybeth, delivers a package to Laura that contains a decapitated mannequin head painted to look like her, along with a message to "beware the man in the green mask." Later the doctor is knocked out while trying to call the police, and is discovered laid out on his desk with a sheet over him by a reporter named Terry Lee, his flighty fiancée Jane and house detective Bill Raymond. As Laura ... +


In the Central City morgue, two autopsy surgeons examine the unmarked body of a female corpse and contemplate what could have killed her: Laura Van Ee is trapped in a loveless marriage to her husband Ward, who married her one night on a drunken dare. After receiving mysterious, threatening letters from Europe, Laura begins to believe that Ward and his father Joseph, a doctor whose specialty is mental illness, are trying to drive her insane and, as revenge, refuses to grant Ward a divorce. One day, Dr. Van Ee receives a visit from a woman reporter, who is acting on a tip that strange things have been happening at the house. Later, the doctor's cousin Leonide, a professor of magic, visits after an absence of twenty years, with his companion, a deaf-mute midget named Indigo. Leo was an inmate at the house when it was an institution for the insane, and after constructing countless secret passageways, he escaped and traveled to Europe. Ward now asks Leo's help in solving Laura's dilemma, and shows him a photograph that he found in Laura's room of a pair of Parisian dancers named Rene and Laurette, who are wearing green masks. The next morning, the maid, Lilybeth, delivers a package to Laura that contains a decapitated mannequin head painted to look like her, along with a message to "beware the man in the green mask." Later the doctor is knocked out while trying to call the police, and is discovered laid out on his desk with a sheet over him by a reporter named Terry Lee, his flighty fiancée Jane and house detective Bill Raymond. As Laura pleads for help from Terry, claiming that the Van Ees are holding her under house arrest, Lilybeth enters in a trance and, before collapsing, attempts to place a green blindfold over Laura's eyes. She is assumed dead and her body is placed in the doctor's basement laboratory. The incident causes Laura to lapse into unconsciousness, and while she is thought to be sedated, gunshots are heard in her room, and the dummy head wearing a green mask is put in her place in bed. Leo, meanwhile, removes Lilybeth's body from the laboratory, and she is seen at the front door by Raymond, who loves her. The doctor explains that she is merely in a hypnotic spell, and Leo later revives her. Jane then reports that Laura shouted to a green face in her room that she "didn't mean to do it," before firing three shots and disappearing. Laura now screams, and is found transfixed in the living room. The voice of Rene, her ex-dance partner, coaxes Laura into admitting that they were once married. He was suspected of being a spy, and she took money from the Nazis to turn him in. She then sent him a green scarf of hers to wear at his execution so that he would know it was she who betrayed him. He was good and kind, she says, but she resented the power he had over her. A practiced escape artist, Rene avoided execution, and now has returned for revenge. Just then, a figure in a green mask approaches from outside a window, causing Laura to scream before falling dead from fear. Outside, Raymond discovers Mrs. Williams, who is really Rene in disguise. Leo then reveals that Rene was his assistant in his magic act. They later met in a European concentration camp, and Leo returned to the Van Ee house to help him. Back in the present at the morgue, Terry and Raymond ask the autopsy surgeon what killed Laura, and he reports that she was literally "scared to death." +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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