Cause for Alarm! After picking up a cut-rate DVD box set containing 100 “mystery” films that have lapsed into the public domain I came across this thriller from 1951 about a dutiful housewife who watches her bedridden husband slip into paranoia. Whether the film possesses film noir bona fidas is not the question; the answer is that the film is quite effective at stirring up Hitchcock like thrills for the picture’s final reels. The filmmakers even inject a note of ambiguity at the film’s conclusion enough to make you wonder if the film’s climax could perhaps be viewed from a different perspective.
Like so many films of the era there are several things that do raise humorous eyebrows these days. At the onset Loretta Young is doing “housework”; struggling with an unruly vacuum cleaner while wearing an elegant dress that would be more than appropriate attire for a four star restaurant. It really wasn’t that long ago that millions of women would have killed for Young’s sedate upper middle class existence as a “housewife.” The idea that a doctor would make a house-call (let alone two house-calls in one day) is a humorous artifact of a bygone era. Redgardless of the anachronistic humor, “Cause For Alarm” is a pleasant diversion.