skip navigation
The Price of Fear

The Price of Fear(1956)

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here

Remind Me

TCMDb Archive MaterialsView all archives (2)


powered by AFI

When racetrack owner David Barrett discovers that mobster Frankie Edare has bought out Dave's partner, Lou Belden, Dave immediately vows to Edare that he will never accept the new partnership. Upon leaving, Dave bumps into Lou and rages, in front of witnesses, that he will kill him if he ever sees him again. Meanwhile, beautiful investment counselor Jessica Warren drives home tipsy from a big meeting, and accidentally runs over an elderly immigrant, Emilio Ferranti. Horrified, she drives off, but then pulls into a gas station and dials the police. As she briefly turns away from the phone, Dave, whose taxi is being chased by Edare's henchman, Vince Burton, has cab driver Johnny McNab drop him off, and jumps into Jessica's car to escape. Jessica, seeing him steal her car, then reports to the police only that her car was stolen. Soon after, Edare has Lou shot, and within hours, Johnny is accused of hitting Ferranti, killing Lou and stealing Jessica's car. Dave's friend, Sgt. Pete Carroll, is assigned the case and, despite evidence, including the testimony of pawnshop owner Bolasny that he sold Dave a shotgun the previous night, believes Dave is innocent. After Pete informs a shocked Dave about the charges against him, he adds that, since both murders occurred at the same time, he could not have hit Ferranti and killed Lou. With this thought in mind, Dave strives to be found guilty of the hit and run, and at his hearing, suffers the glares of Farranti's daughter Nina. Jessica arrives to testify, not wavering even after she realizes that her story will result in a murder sentence for Dave. Later, Dave visits Jessica at work to question why she lied about the time her car was stolen, and explains that he, too, wants the police to believe that he hit Ferranti. At Dave's sentencing trial, however, the district attorney clears him of the accident charges in the hopes of jailing him for Lou's murder, and a scheming Jessica invites Dave to lunch. That night, when Pete visits Jessica to accuse her of lying about the accident, he is disturbed to find Dave there. Later, Dave asks Jessica directly if she hit Ferranti, and after she vows her innocence, he confesses he loves her. The next day, Edare sends Jessica a box containing the shotgun, with which Lou was killed, and after Dave informs Pete, the detective brings the gun to Bolasny and claims he is Dave. Burton is hiding there, and as soon as it becomes clear to Pete that Bolasny has never seen Dave before, the pawnshop owner hints that he should look in the back room, and Pete sees Burton race away. Edare responds to this by informing Jessica that, since Pete believes Dave innocent of Lou's murder, she is once again vulnerable to being charged with the accident. He convinces her that she should work with him to find the missing McNab, the only one who can prove that Dave was in the cab at the time the Ferranti was hit, and so when Dave finds McNab's address, she accompanies him to the house. There, Jessica secretly bribes McNab's wife Ruth to swear that she has no idea where her husband is. After they leave, McNab, who has been hiding in the back room, feels guilty, but just as he calls Dave to offer help, Burton enters the apartment and stabs him. Edare the visits Jessica to give her the good news, but when he tries to touch her, she slaps him and he leaves. Dave arrives soon after and notes that Jessica seems to know already about McNab's death, but she convinces him she is guileless. Just then, however, Ruth, certain that Jessica had her husband killed, reveals the bribe to Dave. Jessica sweats that Edare forced her to help him, but Dave deduces the truth. The next morning, Nina visits Dave, now hoping to help him, but he raves out as soon as Jessica calls to inform him that she cannot turn herself in and instead is leaving the country. After he manages to board her train just before it leaves, Nina notifies Pete to meet the train at the next stop. On the train, Jessica swears to love Dave, but leads him to the engineer's room, where Edare and Burton ambush him. At the next stop, Pete boards the train while Burton, disguised as the engineer, loads luggage that includes a barking dog. Pete accompanies the conductor on his rounds, and after a woman complains about the barking, they search the engineer's room. There, Edare is just about to throw Dave from the train, but is stopped when Peter enters. Burton then aims at Dave, but Jessica jumps in front of Dave, allowing Pete to shoot Burton. At Pete arrests Adare, Jessica explains to Dave that she must love him more than she realizes. He tries to embrace her, but before he can, she jumps from the train to her death.