Footsteps in the Fog (1955)
Stewart Granger and then wife Jean Simmons journeyed to Shepperton Studios in England to star opposite each other in this cross between a Hitchcock murder mystery and a Hammer Films thriller. According to Granger it was “mulishly” directed by Arthur Lubin in reference to Lubin’s association with the Francis the Talking Mule series.
Both stars play against type in this fog shrouded tale of murder and blackmail. The film starts with Granger attending the funeral of his wife looking distraught and emotionally ravaged. Publicly at least.Things are about to take a severe turn when servant girl Jean Simmons implies she knows exactly how the mistress of the house died.
She’s quickly promoted to the job of head mistress within Granger’s high society home. He doesn’t exactly like the fact that she’s holding a dark secret over his head. It just might be time to get rid of her. Permanently.
The plot takes a major twist when following Simmons through a deep fog Granger strikes. He leaves the body just as he’s discovered and returns home. He’s just dug his hole a little deeper when he finds he’s killed the wrong woman. It’s a tale of cat and mouse from here on out till the endings nice little twist of circumstances.
Granger and Simmons were married for the decade of the fifties and this was their second film together during that time. The first being Young Bess. They work well together in this eerie tale where he’s downright villainous and she has a rather warped sense of adulation. Hang in for the ending as they both get what they deserve.
There’s a really good thriller in here and at times it surfaces despite Lubin’s “mulishly” styled direction. This is one of those features that really could have been better had it been in the hands of the “master” himself. We then wouldn’t have to call it Hitchcockian. A little tightening of the script in a few spots could have gone a long way in making this lesser known thriller remembered more fondly if at all.
Considering the run of big budget extravaganzas Stewart Granger was on through this part of his career Footsteps in the Fog is a rather low budget affair. This shouldn’t really be much of a surprise as he was on loan out to Columbia studios where Harry Cohn was known to squeeze a buck. Despite being a technicolor film the fog doesn’t help the medium although Simmons looks gorgeous in a red dress at one point in the film. For me Simmons was quite possibly the most beautiful woman in films during this era. I am always joking that I first fell in love with her while watching Spartacus on television at an impressionable age.
This title recently turned up in a Noir set on blu ray via Mill Creek / VCI that is well worth adding to your shelf of titles.