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The Kill
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The Kill

Based on the novel The Mountains Have No Shadow by Owen Cameron, the 1952 live television broadcast of The Kill is noteworthy for several reasons but the main one is the actress who appears in a supporting role and would soon become a Hollywood superstar – Grace Kelly. In this fifty-one minute melodrama of sexual intrigue, murder and revenge set in a backwoods mountain community, Kelly plays Freda, the wife of Jeff (Dick Foran), a former resident of the town who has returned with his family after being away for several years. Jeff's reappearance not only awakens the unrequited lust of Carrie (Nina Foch), an ex-lover, but also the intense jealousy of Carrie's husband, Al (Don Hanmer), who, with his brother, has appropriated Jeff's water well rights and property in the latter's absence. A violent confrontation between Jeff and the two brothers results in Jeff being accused of murder and a band of vigilantes form to hunt Jeff down, dead or alive.

While the role of Freda was a relatively minor one for Kelly, she makes the most of her brief scenes as a loving wife who is soon confronted by a rupture in the community that threatens to spin out of control, destroying her husband and their lives. At the time, Kelly was learning her craft in live television productions. Between 1950 and 1953 she appeared in more than sixty television shows, some of which included Kraft Television Theatre, Hallmark Hall of Fame, Lux Video Theatre, Robert Montgomery Presents, and Westinghouse Studio One (for which The Kill was produced).

Among the other virtues of The Kill is a terse, unpretentious screenplay by Reginald Rose and the lean, economic direction by Franklin J. Schaffner, who had to work with a large cast on a few cramped, minimally dressed sound stage sets. Rose would go on to garner an Oscar® nomination for Best Screenplay Adaptation of his original teleplay, Twelve Angry Men (1957), directed by Sidney Lumet. Although he continued to work in films off and on until the mid-eighties, he is best known for his contributions to such popular TV series as The Defenders [1961-1965] and mini-series like Studs Lonigan [1979].

Schaffner also got his start in live television like Rose and fellow contemporaries Sidney Lumet and John Frankenheimer. His filmography included both critical successes and box office hits such as The Best Man [1964], Planet of the Apes [1968] and Patton [1970], for which he won the Oscar® for Best Director.

Producer: Donald Davis, Dorothy Mathews
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Screenplay: Reginald Rose; Owen Cameron (novel "The Mountains Have No Shadow")
Music: Robert Allen, Bernard Herrmann, Bernhard Kaun
Cast: Dick Foran (Jeff), Nina Foch (Carrie), Grace Kelly (Freda), Paul Langton (Marsh), Harry Townes (Dave), Don Hanmer (Al), Carl Frank (Link), George Mitchell (Abner), Joe Maross (Nebro), Alan Devitt (Cap Manny), Frank Marth (Bub), James Coots (Sheriff), Arthur Junaleska (Billy), Lynn Loring (Carol).
BW-59m.

by Jeff Stafford

SOURCES:
Grace by Robert Lacey (G.P. Putnam's Sons)
True Grace: The Life and Death of an American Princess by Wendy Leigh (Thomas Dunne Books)

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