Watched another old movie today, this time the 1964 drama thriller directed by Walter Grauman (“I Deal In Danger”, “Murder, She Wrote”) and written by Luther Davis (“The Gift Of Love”, “The Hucksters”) titled “Lady In A Cage”.
Malcolm Hilyard (William Swan – “The Parallax View”, “Winter Of Frozen Dreams”), feeling trapped by his suffocating mother, heads off for weekend away on a hot 4th July.
His mother, Mrs. Cornelia Hilyard (Olivia De Havilland – “The Adventures Of Robin Hood”, “The Snake Pit”), is recovering from a broken hip and has had an elevator installed in her large home as she is unable to manage the stairs.
A power outage causes Mrs. Hilyard to become trapped in the cage-like elevator between floors, and finds that the emergency alarm fails to elicit the help she needs due to the noise from the 4th July weekend traffic flowing past her home.
She becomes alarmed when a drunk down-and-out, George (Jeff Corey – “Conan The Destroyer”, “True Grit”), breaks into her house and steals some small items that he promptly takes to local fence Mr. Paul (Charles Seel – “The Road West”, “Gunsmoke”). George then enlists the help of ageing prostitute Sade (Ann Sothern – “Private Secretary”, “Maisie”) to return to the house and swipe as much as they can.
Three young hoods – Randall (James Caan – “Rollerball”,”The Godfather”), Essie (Rafael Campos – “Outlaw Riders”, “The Doll Squad”) and Elaine (Jennifer Billingsley – “The Spy With My Face”, “White Lightning”) – had observed George’s transaction with Mr. Paul and realising that he must have stumbled onto something decide to follow him.
If Mrs. Hilyard thought things were bad when George returned with Sade in tow, she couldn’t possible imagine what would happen once the seemingly amoral Randall and his cronies pitch up and start an orgy of violence and destruction. Is there any way out of her predicament? Is she safe, suspended out of reach in her elevator?
This is a decent enough movie, with some genuine suspense and creditable performances from then-newcomer Caan and, particularly, De Havilland – who conveys the range of emotions, hope and desperation of someone in Mrs. Hilyard’s increasingly precarious position. Well worth a viewing…