Movie Review: The Night Walker (1964)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1964 thriller/mystery starring Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor

Synopsis: Shortly after her blind and wealthy husband is killed in an explosion, a woman starts seeing him in her dreams. When her dreams become more realistic, she begins to suspect her deceased husband and a mysterious lover really are visiting her and enlists her husband's attorney to help her figure out the truth.


My wife had to work tonight so, as we usually do, my oldest daughter and I had a classic movie night together. I recently came across this film and it sounded like it would be something a bit different from what we normally watch. And, as it turns out, it was a very good movie.

Even though this movie is classified in the horror/thriller category, neither of us thought it was overly scary. The somewhat bizarre wedding scene was a little creepy. But, the movie never reached a point where it was overly intense or even suspenseful.

That being said, as I've mentioned in the past, I'm a huge mystery fan. And, as a mystery, this film is one that is very memorable. 

The thing I liked about this film, at least as far as the mystery goes, was the fact it was very difficult to figure out what, exactly, was going on. In fact, even when I learned the truth about her bizarre dreams, it took a couple minutes for it to sink in enough for me to explain it to my still-confused daughter. 

Part of the reason for this was, while there were plenty of people who seemed like they were up to something, ranging from the attorney (Taylor) to a seemingly unconnected hairdresser (Meredith), there was no clear motive. I suspected the woman's (Stanwyck) husband (Rorke) was murdered. But, his death didn't explain the mysterious man in her dreams (Lloyd Bochner) or why he suddenly became real. I had some theories. But, none of them were even remotely accurate (which is rare for me).

Adding to that confusion is the way the movie makes it difficult to keep track of whether she's awake or asleep. In addition to giving the viewer a sense of the disorientation the widowed wife is feeling, it does keep you off balanced while watching, making it difficult to keep track of what is real and what is just a figment of her subconscious. More movies should do that, in my opinion at least.

Night Walker [VHS]

This film from legendary gimmick artist William Castle (THE TINGLER) and writer Robert Bloch (PSYCHO) focuses on people's dreams. The first segment of the film is a wild halluci...

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Final Opinion

As I said, the film is lacking when it comes to the horror/thriller category. However, it is a solid mystery that is worth taking the time to watch if you have an opportunity to. I know we didn't regret it.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 09/12/2015, StevenHelmer
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