AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Nightmare
Director: Tim Whelan (Dir)
Release Date:   13 Nov 1942
Production Date:   25 Aug--mid-Oct 1942
Duration (in mins):   80-81
Duration (in feet):   7,342
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Cast:   Diana Barrymore (Leslie Stafford)  
    Brian Donlevy (Dan Shane)  
    Henry Daniell (Captain [Edgar] Stafford)  
    Eustace Wyatt (Angus)  
    Arthur Shields (Sergeant)  
    Gavin Muir (Lord Abbington)  
    Stanley Logan (Inspector Robbins)  
    Ian Wolfe (Abbington's butler)  
    Hans Conreid (Hans)  
    John Abbott (Carl)  
    David Clyde (Jock)  
    Elspeth Dudgeon (Angus' wife)  
    Harold de Becker (London cabby)  
    Ivan Simpson (Money changer)  
    Keith Hitchcock (London bobby)  
    Arthur Gould-Porter (Freddie)  
    Anita Bolster (Mrs. McDonald)  
    Lydia Bilbrook (Mrs. Bates)  
    Pax Walker (Gladys)  
    Bobbie Hale (Old gaffer)  
    Dennis Chaldecott (Crying child)  
    Leonard Carey (Parker)  
    Edward Cooper (Superintendent)  
    Kate Lawson (Cook)  
    Nolan Leary (Scotsman)  
    Sven-Hugo Borg (German voice)  
    Sylvia Chaldecott (Cockney woman's voice)  

Summary: American gambler Dan Shane, who has been left homeless by the German aerial bombing raids, breaks into a seemingly empty London home for protection from the night rains. Leslie Stafford discovers the intruder in her house, and rather than calling the police, she offers to stake Dan his fare back to America if he will help her dispose of the body of her murdered husband, Captain Edgar Stafford. Pretending to be drunk, Dan stuffs Edgar's body into a taxi and then leaves it in a waterfront phone booth. Dan then returns to Leslie's, and even though he believes that she is a murderer, propositions her. She orders him to leave, but runs after him when her husband's body re-appears in the den. When the police arrive, the two manage to escape in a car parked by Leslie's back door. Dan and Leslie then travel to Scotland, where they are forced to stay overnight at the Fisherman's Rest Inn under the aliases of "Mr. & Mrs. A. Cooper." That night, Leslie tells Dan that her estranged, abusive husband returned to her the night of his murder and made "wild accusations" against her cousin, Lord Abbington, to whom she was once engaged. When Edgar refused to leave, she went to bed, only to be later awakened by the cries of her husband, whose dying words were "S I 10." Dan does not believe her story, so Leslie pretends to send his ticket home to her cousin's castle in order to force him to accompany her there. Along the way, they bypass a hitchhiking German spy, Carl, who notes that the license plate on their stolen car is "S I 10." After leaving Leslie at Lord Abbington's, Dan motors back toward London, but stops when the car receives a German shortwave message for "S I 10." Dan then discovers a hidden shortwave radio in the spare tire compartment and sees the license number. He goes back to the Abbington estate, where he pretends to be a newspaper reporter in order to question Lord Abbington. Abbington tries to bribe Dan, then discovers the American's true identity from a newspaper story. Abbington is about to turn Leslie and Dan over to police inspector Robbins when the policeman points out that the lord's missing car has been returned. Later, Dan escapes with Leslie from the lord's home, and the two are forced to seek refuge in a barn after Leslie sprains her ankle. Leslie tells Dan that her cousin was an adopted German orphan whom her husband suspected of being a Nazi operative. Back at the Abbington estate, the lord chastises German agent Hans for his failure to frame his cousin for her husband's murder. The next day, a search party, led by Inspector Robbins, uncovers Dan and Leslie, but the policeman mistakenly leaves Leslie in the hand of Abbington's men. She is taken to Abbington's waterfront warehouse, where she overhears the lord telling Carl that he is placing explosives in whiskey bottles which will explode during shipment at sea. Meanwhile, Dan tells the disbelieving police that Abbington is a Nazi spy who ordered his agents to kill Stafford. The lord then arrives in town and is able to refute Dan's entire story. Dan escapes on a motorcycle, with the police and Abbington giving chase. He arrives at the warehouse, where he saves Leslie from Hans's clutches. Before they can escape, Abbington appears, so Dan threatens him with one of the whiskey bottles. The spies surrender, but rather than being congratulated for their efforts, Dan and Leslie are chastised by Scotland Yard for their interference in the case. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Director: Tim Whelan (Dir)
  Joseph A. McDonough (Asst dir)
Producer: Dwight Taylor (Prod)
Writer: Dwight Taylor (Scr)
Photography: George Barnes (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: John Goodman (Art dir)
  Martin Obzina (Assoc)
Film Editor: Frank Gross (Film ed)
Set Decoration: R. A. Gausman (Set dec)
  E. R. Robinson (Assoc)
Costumes: Vera West (Gowns)
Music: Charles Previn (Mus dir)
  Frank Skinner (Mus)
Sound: Bernard B. Brown (Dir of sd)
  Charles Carroll ([Sd] tech)
  Bud Asher (Boom op)
  Henry Wilkinson (Boom op)
  Ralph Butler (Boom op)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel Escape by Philip MacDonald (Garden City, NY, 1932).
Authors: Philip MacDonald

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. 13/11/1942 dd/mm/yyyy LP11686

PCA NO: 8817
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Mystery
Sub-Genre: Espionage
 
Subjects (Major): Americans in foreign countries
  Foreign agents
  Frame-ups
  Gamblers
  London (England)
  Murder
 
Subjects (Minor): Aliases
  Automobile theft
  Butlers
  Chases
  Cousins
  Drunkenness
  Escapes
  Explosives
  Great Danes
  Homelessness
  Impersonation and imposture
  Inns
  Marriage
  Motorcycles
  Police inspectors
  Radio, Short wave
  Scotland
  Scotland Yard (London, England)
  World War II

Note: LAEx states that this was Dwight Taylor's first producing assignment, under a three-picture agreement with Universal. Taylor had previously worked in the motion picture industry as a screenwriter, a position he maintained on this film. According to HR , Bud Asher became the third boom operator on the film, when the first two, Henry Wilkinson and Ralph Butler, were drafted into the U.S. Army Signal Corps. during the production. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   14 Nov 1942.   
Daily Variety   9 Nov 42   p. 3.
Film Daily   10 Nov 42   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Aug 42   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Aug 42   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Sep 42   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Nov 42   p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner   27 Jul 1942.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   14 Nov 42   p. 1018.
New York Times   4 Dec 42   p. 31.
PM (Journal)   23 Nov 1942.   
Variety   11 Nov 42   p. 8.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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