Without Warning! (1952)

75-77 mins | Drama | 8 May 1952

Director:

Arnold Laven

Writer:

Bill Raynor

Cinematographer:

Joseph Biroc

Editor:

Arthur H. Nadel

Production Designer:

Edward S. Haworth

Production Company:

Allart Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

This film’s working titles were The Frightened City , The Ripper and The Slasher . According to a 17 Mar 1952 ^DV article, the MPAA rejected the name The Ripper as being too suggestive of “Jack the Ripper,” after which Columbia objected to The Slasher on the grounds that it was too similar to its recently released The Sniper (see above). According to a 3 Feb 1952 LAT article, the film was conceived by producers Jules Levy and Arthur Gardner and director Arnold Laven, who served together in the U.S. Army Air Corps's First Motion Picture Unit. The article goes on to state that they received funding from financier Josef Auerbach. The Var review asserts that Sol Lesser “acquired an interest” in the film and arranged its distribution by United Artists.
       Although the LAT article states that Allart Pictures Corp. would make additional pictures, Without Warning was that company's only production. Gardner, Levy and Laven did, however, make additional films together. Contemporary sources note that the film was shot mainly on location around Los Angeles, including in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and coroner’s laboratory, on the Hollywood freeway and in Chavez Ravine. Although HR news items add John Doucette to the cast, his appearance in this unviewed film has not been ... More Less

This film’s working titles were The Frightened City , The Ripper and The Slasher . According to a 17 Mar 1952 ^DV article, the MPAA rejected the name The Ripper as being too suggestive of “Jack the Ripper,” after which Columbia objected to The Slasher on the grounds that it was too similar to its recently released The Sniper (see above). According to a 3 Feb 1952 LAT article, the film was conceived by producers Jules Levy and Arthur Gardner and director Arnold Laven, who served together in the U.S. Army Air Corps's First Motion Picture Unit. The article goes on to state that they received funding from financier Josef Auerbach. The Var review asserts that Sol Lesser “acquired an interest” in the film and arranged its distribution by United Artists.
       Although the LAT article states that Allart Pictures Corp. would make additional pictures, Without Warning was that company's only production. Gardner, Levy and Laven did, however, make additional films together. Contemporary sources note that the film was shot mainly on location around Los Angeles, including in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and coroner’s laboratory, on the Hollywood freeway and in Chavez Ravine. Although HR news items add John Doucette to the cast, his appearance in this unviewed film has not been confirmed. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Apr 1952.
---
Daily Variety
17 Mar 1952.
---
Daily Variety
28 Mar 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
31 Mar 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
20 Jun 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 1951
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 1951
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 1951
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 1951
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 1951
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Mar 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 52
p. 3.
Los Angeles Daily News
5 Nov 1951
p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
3 Feb 1952
Part IV, p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Apr 52
p. 1307.
Variety
2 Apr 52
p. 6.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Ripper
The Slasher
The Frightened City
Release Date:
8 May 1952
Production Date:
4 October--late October 1951 at Goldwyn Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Allart Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
8 May 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1893
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75-77
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15666
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a seedy Los Angeles motel, Carl Martin stabs a blonde woman to death. Police detectives Pete and Don investigate and correctly suspect that the murder is related to an unsolved stabbing that occurred one month earlier. Soon after, Carl, a gardener who uses his shears as his murder weapon, shops at a nursery owned by Fred Saunders and finds himself attracted to Fred’s blonde daughter, Jane. After Jane, whose husband is in the Army overseas, declines Fred’s offer of a ride home, Fred picks up a blonde in a bar and drives beneath a freeway bridge, where he murders her. When two patrolmen stop to investigate, Carl punches one and flees from the other. The officer shoots and Carl returns fire, but manages to escape by jumping onto a passing produce truck. Back at the police station, the patrolmen supply Pete and Don with Carl’s description. The detectives question the police psychiatrist, who deduces that Carl is a paranoiac serial killer who targets similar-looking, married blondes under the age of thirty. Pete and Don station blonde policewomen in bars around town to tempt Carl, and soon the killer picks up one of them, a woman named Virginia. Although Carl drives her into the hills planning to murder her, he spots Don tailing the car, and drops Virginia off unharmed. Soon after, the body of another of Carl’s victims is found in a riverbed and Pete and Don discover a spring from the shears on the ground near the body. Lab technician Charlie uses the spring to identify the brand of shears, and the police canvas local nurseries. When they arrive at Fred’s shop and show him the ... +


In a seedy Los Angeles motel, Carl Martin stabs a blonde woman to death. Police detectives Pete and Don investigate and correctly suspect that the murder is related to an unsolved stabbing that occurred one month earlier. Soon after, Carl, a gardener who uses his shears as his murder weapon, shops at a nursery owned by Fred Saunders and finds himself attracted to Fred’s blonde daughter, Jane. After Jane, whose husband is in the Army overseas, declines Fred’s offer of a ride home, Fred picks up a blonde in a bar and drives beneath a freeway bridge, where he murders her. When two patrolmen stop to investigate, Carl punches one and flees from the other. The officer shoots and Carl returns fire, but manages to escape by jumping onto a passing produce truck. Back at the police station, the patrolmen supply Pete and Don with Carl’s description. The detectives question the police psychiatrist, who deduces that Carl is a paranoiac serial killer who targets similar-looking, married blondes under the age of thirty. Pete and Don station blonde policewomen in bars around town to tempt Carl, and soon the killer picks up one of them, a woman named Virginia. Although Carl drives her into the hills planning to murder her, he spots Don tailing the car, and drops Virginia off unharmed. Soon after, the body of another of Carl’s victims is found in a riverbed and Pete and Don discover a spring from the shears on the ground near the body. Lab technician Charlie uses the spring to identify the brand of shears, and the police canvas local nurseries. When they arrive at Fred’s shop and show him the description of the killer, he identifies Carl and informs them in horror that Jane is at that moment delivering supplies to Carl. Meanwhile, Jane has reached Carl’s and discovered that he is the killer. While holding a pair of shears to Jane’s back, Carl reveals that mistreatment by his former wife repeatedly induces him into a murderous rage. He holds Jane hostage when Pete and Don arrive, forcing them to drive away, but at the last moment Don slips out of the car and doubles back to the cabin. There, he shoots Carl just before the killer can take Jane’s life. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.