Best Thriller Movies of 1953
It's a dreary Christmas 1944 for the American POWs in Stalag 17 and the men in Barracks 4, all sergeants, have to deal with a grave problem—there seems to be a security leak.
The Big Heat
Tough cop Dave Bannion takes on a politically powerful crime syndicate.
Pickup on South Street
In New York City, an insolent pickpocket, Skip McCoy, inadvertently sets off a chain of events when he targets ex-prostitute Candy and steals her wallet. Unaware that she has been making deliveries of highly classified information to the communists, Candy, who has been trailed by FBI agents for months in hopes of nabbing the spy ringleader, is sent by her ex-boyfriend, Joey, to find Skip and retrieve the valuable microfilm he now holds.
Unable, due to the seal of the confessional, to be forthcoming with information that would serve to clear himself during a murder investigation, a priest becomes the prime suspect.
The Naked Spur
Howard Kemp has been tracking killer Ben Vandergroat for a long time. In the Colorado Rockies, he teams up with prospector Jesse Tate and former Union soldier Roy Anderson. Thinking Kemp is a sheriff, they agree to help for a small fee. When they catch Vandergroat, he tells them Kemp is pursuing a $5,000 bounty. After demanding equal shares, the uneasy alliance heads for Kansas as Vandergroat tries to turn them against each other.
Rose Loomis and her older, gloomier husband, George, are vacationing at a cabin in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The couple befriend Polly and Ray Cutler, who are honeymooning in the area. Polly begins to suspect that something is amiss between Rose and George, and her suspicions grow when she sees Rose in the arms of another man. While Ray initially thinks Polly is overreacting, things between George and Rose soon take a shockingly dark turn.
An ambulance driver gets involved with a rich girl that might have a darker side.
Roy and Gilbert's fishing trip takes a terrifying turn when the hitchhiker they pick up turns out to be a sociopath on the run from the law. He's killed before, and he lets the two know that as soon as they're no longer useful, he'll kill again. The two friends plot an escape, but the hitchhiker's peculiar physical affliction, an eye that never closes even when he sleeps, makes it impossible for them to tell when they can make a break for it.
Invaders from Mars
In the early hours of the night, young David Maclean sees a flying saucer land and disappear into the sand dunes just beyond his house. Slowly, all of the adults, including his once loving parents, begin to act strangely.
99 River Street
A former boxer --now taxi driver-- gets mixed up with jewel thieves.
The Man Between
A British woman on a visit to post-war Berlin is caught up in an espionage ring smuggling secrets into and out of the Eastern Bloc.
Man on a Tightrope
Elia Kazan's 1953 film stars Fredric March as the owner of an impoverished circus in Communist-ruled Czechoslovokia who plots to flee across the border to freedom, taking his entire troupe of performers and wild animals with him. The cast also includes Gloria Grahame, Terry Moore, Cameron Mitchell, Richard Boone and Adolphe Menjou.
The Blue Gardenia
Deeply distraught that her GI ex-boyfriend plans to marry another woman, Norah Larkin agrees to go out on a date with lothario Harry Prebble. Norah's drunken night out with Prebble ends in a hazily remembered confrontation and the next day a startling discovery: Harry has been murdered, and the police have found Norah's personal effects at the scene. Tipped off to the breaking news, reporter Casey Mayo invites Norah to tell her side of the story.
A young bride is set to begin her honeymoon aboard a luxury liner. Her happiness does not last when she finds that her husband has disappeared. Trouble is, no one else ever saw him board the ship with her and his name has mysteriously dropped from the passenger list.
A woman is kidnapped when she goes to get help for her husband who is trapped on a beach with the tide coming in to surely drown him.
When selfish and arrogant millionaire Donald Carson fractures his leg during a desert vacation, his wife, Geraldine, leaves with their friend Joseph Duncan to supposedly get help. However, the two of them are really lovers who are leaving Carson to die in the heat. Slowly, Carson realizes he is on his own and vows revenge on the traitorous couple. Having had a privileged life, Carson must now use his wits to stay alive.
Escaped convicts hold hostages in a ghost town targeted for a nuclear bomb test.
A supermodel gets murdered. While investigating the case the story of a waitress turned glamor girl is revealed.
A Blueprint for Murder
Whitney Cameron is in a quandary: he's attracted to his beautiful sister-in-law, Lynn, but also harbors serious suspicions about her. Her husband, Cameron's brother, died under mysterious circumstances, and now that the death of her stepchild, Polly, has been attributed to poisoning, he suspects that Lynn is after his late brother's estate, and killing everyone in her way.
The story tells of Russ Lambert (Robert Mitchum), a prize-fighter with a lethal right-handed punch, who through no fault of his own, killed a fighter in the ring. Since the fight his life has gone downhill.
Grand National Night
The story of a husband's implication in his wife's death, his stupid disposal of her body and the police enquiry which almost embroils him in a murder charge.
Man in the Attic
London, 1888: on the night of the third Jack the Ripper killing, soft-spoken Mr. Slade, a research pathologist, takes lodgings with the Harleys, including a gloomy attic room for "experiments." Mrs. Harley finds Slade odd and increasingly suspects the worst; her niece Lily (star of a decidedly Parisian stage revue) finds him interesting and increasingly attractive. Is Lily in danger, or are her mother's suspicions merely a red herring?
London policewomen handle rescues and larceny as they go about their work in Chelsea.
The Glass Web
The ice-cold diva Paula ruthlessly exploits the guys she dates. While blackmailing the married Don with a recent one-night-stand, she has a secret affair with Henry, who works as researcher for the weekly authentic TV show "Crime of the Week", which Don writes for. When Henry fails to help her to a role, she insults him deadly... and ends up dead herself. Now Don desperately tries to hide his traces, but Henry sabotages his efforts and suggests he write the unsolved murder case for next week's show...
A British girl (Glynis Johns) disappears for three days after a frank talk with the wife (Gene Tierney) of a Latin teacher (Leo Genn) she loves.
An American military officer (Joel McCrea) and his wife (Evelyn Keyes) move to a cottage in what they think is the peaceful English countryside, only to discover the area is a hotbed of spies and secret agents. Director Robert Parrish's 1952 British espionage thriller--with a climax set at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London--also stars Herbert Lom, Marius Goring, Roland Culver, Frank Lawton and Megs Jenkins.
Man in the Dark
A prisoner undergoes experimental brain surgery in order to get early parole. He released but has no memories. Things get dangerous when a group of thugs go after him in search of loot he hid before his amnesia.
Forbidden bears traces of several earlier film noirs, with Tony Curtis filling the shoes vacated by the likes of Alan Ladd, Dick Powell and Robert Mitchum. Curtis acquits himself very nicely as a small-time hood sent to Macao by gangster Lyle Bettger to locate Joanne Dru, the widow of another gangster.
When a saboteur places an explosive device on a train full of sea mines, the authorities call for bomb expert Peter Lyncort to diffuse the situation, unaware that he has explosive problems of his own.
The Runaway Bus
When heavy fog prevents any flights from leaving London Airport, a group of passengers are put on a bus driven by Percy Lamb (Frankie Howerd in his first starring role) to drive to another airport. The fog is that heavy Percy doesn't know where he is going or that he is carrying stolen gold bullion that the robbers and police are relentlessly pursuing.
The Large Rope
After being framed for a murder he didn't commit, Tom Penney (Donald Houston) serves his time and returns to his rural English home to establish a quiet life. When another victim is found, however, Tom is blamed for the crime and flees rather than returnng to prison. Hoping to find the real killer -- or killers -- Tom investigates while keeping a low profile to elude his pursuers, and a vital clue leads him on the path to possible redemption.
Escape by Night
An Italian racketeer on the run in London holes up in a disused theatre with a hard-drinking journalist out to get the full story.
Never Let Me Go
An American reporter falls in love with a Russian ballet dancer.
When his wife stops writing to him and his letters are returned unanswered, Dan becomes extremely concerned about her welfare. He returns home but is only able to meet with her briefly before she is found murdered. Dan is the obvious suspect but has only 36 hours to find out who murdered her. In so doing he uncovers a shocking catalogue of his wife's past affairs and an identity that he knew nothing about.
Cry of the Hunted
A prison convict escapes through the Louisiana swamps.
A young woman is hired to take care of an eerie old mansion, where she finds herself entangled with an enigmatic murderer.
Branded as criminally insane and incarcerated for a murder he did not commit, Speight escapes from the asylum, determined to clear his name. He befriends private detective Hugo Bishop (Henreid) who, convinced that the wrong man has been convicted, agrees to help find the real killer. They begin their search for the murderer closest to home where both Thelma Speight (Maxwell) and her employer Maurice Jerrard were visibly distressed by the news of her husband's jailbreak. More than Speight's 'insanity' fuels their worries.
Appointment in Honduras
On a tramp steamer off Central America are Mr. and Mrs. Sheppard, five prisoners en route to a Nicaraguan prison, and Corbett, an American carrying money for a Honduran counter-revolution. Denied permission to land in Honduras, Corbett releases the prisoners and with their aid hijacks the ship. They land, taking the wealthy Sheppards as hostages, and start the arduous trip upriver to Corbett's rendezvous, meeting jungle hazards
The Steel Key
An adventurer investigates the theft of a formula for hardened steel, assisted by his girlfriend.
The Limping Man
An American veteran returns to England after WWII to learn that his London lover has become involved with a dangerous spy ring and their search for a limping sniper.
A jealous musician kills his wife and frames a cab driver.
Murder at 3am
A police detective suspects that his sister's boyfriend is a murderer.
Story of a Dutchman's flight across post-war Germany trying to locate the man who alone can clear him of a false murder charge. (BFI Website)
Wheel of Fate
Two brothers work in their invalid father's repair garage. Johnny is the quiet, reliable one while Ted is younger and wilder. The brothers feud over Lucky, a beautiful band singer. Then their life is complicated: first by a police search for the unknown killer of a man in a dance hall fight, and then by a bookie pressuring Ted to pay his gambling debts.
The 49th Man
Two federal agents (John Ireland, Richard Denning) do not believe an atomic-bomb threat is just another war game.
Steve Gordon, an American agent posing as a black market operator, is in Tangier on a mission to stop the plans of three atomic-scientists who are there to pool their secrets and sell them in a package to the Communists.
A sailor on leave gives a lift to two men who steal his money and car, leaving him for dead in a cornfield, which they don't know is to be cut the following morning. As the combine harvester begins its work the two men unwillingly return to move the body before it's discovered.