Footsteps in the Fog


1h 30m 1955

Brief Synopsis

An ambitious housemaid learns her employer murdered his wife.

Film Details

Also Known As
Deadlock, Interruption, Rebound
Genre
Drama
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
Sep 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Film Locations, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
London, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Interruption" by W. W. Jacobs (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Synopsis

In turn of the century London, after the unexpected death of his wife, Stephen Lowry finds himself wealthy and alone. Scullery maid Lily Watkins, who is despised as incompetent and flirtatious by stern cook Mrs. Park, secretly learns that Stephen poisoned his wife. When Stephen summons Lily to inquire about his wife's jewels, she informs him that Mrs. Lowry gave them to her. Stephen accuses Lily of lying, but when she reveals she knows about the poisoning, he allows her to keep the jewels and promotes her to the position of housekeeper. Some time later, friend and business confidant Alfred Travers offers Stephen a partnership in his business and implies that the romantic relationship between his daughter Elizabeth and young attorney David MacDonald is not settled. Upon returning home, Stephen is outraged to find Lily trying on his wife's clothing and wearing her perfume, but nevertheless begins an affair with her. A few days later, David asks Beth if she is in love with Stephen and when she admits that she is, he cautions her about getting involved with him. David then fabricates a reason to visit Stephen at home, but when he mentions Beth, Stephen grows indignant, declaring that he is still in mourning. Mrs. Park and butler Grimes interrupt the meeting to protest being fired by Lily, and David notices that Lily has on the same broach that Mrs. Lowry is wearing in a portrait. Later, Stephen angrily warns Lily not to take such foolish risks, but Lily assures him she can take care of him without other servants or Beth. When Stephen suggests that she might better her situation by moving to Canada or America, Lily refuses, claiming that she will never leave him. Disturbed by Lily's increasing hold upon him, Stephen impulsively follows her when she leaves to deliver a letter and, stalking her through the heavy fog, beats her to death with his heavy walking stick. Hurrying away through the fog, Stephen grapples with two men leaving a pub and loses the walking stick, then hides in a tree as the body is discovered. When the crowd finally disperses, Stephen makes his way home, only to be shocked when Lily returns safely moments later. She remarks about the commotion in the streets over a murder and while hanging up Stephen's cape, finds it covered with blood and realizes his intentions. The police arrive to inform Stephen of the murder and reveal the victim as constable Burke's wife, but Lily covers for Stephen's whereabouts. The following day, Stephen is questioned by the police and when identified by the two men from the pub, arrested. Beth pleads with David to represent Stephen. At the trial, David casts doubt on the men from the pub by suggesting they were too drunk at the time to accurately identify Stephen. Lily testifies to having lost Stephen's walking stick weeks before and confirms he remained home the night of the assault. Stephen is acquitted based largely on Lily's unflappable testimony. Back at home, Stephen thanks Lily and confides that although he feels no guilt over poisoning his wealthy wife, he feels badly about the death of Katie Burke. When Stephen asks Lily if she is afraid of living with a murderer, she reveals that she has written a revelatory letter to her sister, Rose Moresby, but the note is to be opened only if something happens to her. Shortly after the trial, Stephen takes up his new post with Alfred's company and over the next few months, begins seeing Beth regularly. Lily is furious when Stephen announces his engagement to Beth, but he placates her by explaining that as Alfred's prospective son-in-law he will have greater access to the company's money, which they can then use to flee to America and marry. When Stephen mentions the letter in Rose's possession, Lily assures him that she will write and ask her to burn it. When Rose attempts to burn Lily's letter, however, her husband Herbert questions her and later secretly retrieves it from the fireplace. Over the next few days, in a plan meant to frame Lily, Stephen begins poisoning himself slowly and grows sick, bringing the doctor on several visits. Meanwhile, David visits Alfred in order to try to convince him of Stephen's involvement in Mrs. Lowry's murder, but Alfred refuses to believe him. Upon leaving the Travers' office, David is mistaken for Stephen by Herbert, who later shows David the charred letter and demands money for it. David takes Herbert to Alfred, who, along with Beth is upset about the letter's implications. At the same time, Stephen has a relapse and pleads with Lily to get the doctor as quickly as possible. In her absence, Stephen doses himself with an extra amount of poison, believing that Lily will return with the doctor in minutes. The police pick up Lily and bring her to Alfred's, where she submits to a writing sample, which she purposely alters. Terrified when Lily does not return, Stephen manages to call constable Burke for help. Before Lily hurries away from Alfred's, a constable gets her hurried signature, which matches the writing on the letter. Upon arriving back at home, Lily finds the doctor and Burke, who, having discovered the vial and jewels in her room, accuse Lily of murdering Mrs. Lowry and attempting to kill Stephen. Realizing Stephen's plan, Lily demands that he confess, but the dying Stephen only mutters that Lily threw off his timing. Faced with certain arrest and conviction, Lily laments that she was not Stephen's victim in the fog.

Film Details

Also Known As
Deadlock, Interruption, Rebound
Genre
Drama
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
Sep 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Film Locations, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
London, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Interruption" by W. W. Jacobs (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Articles

Footsteps in the Fog


Redolent with the menacing Victorian atmosphere of melodramas such as Gaslight (1944) and The Lodger (1944), Footsteps in the Fog (1955) stars Stewart Granger and Jean Simmons, then husband and wife, as a murderous London businessman and his scheming maid. The film begins at the funeral of Stephen Lowry's rich hypochondriac wife, and it soon becomes clear that he's poisoned her. The wife's maid, Lily, finds out and blackmails Lowry to advance her station. They embark on an affair, but there are several fiendish twists before both of them get their comeuppances.

Granger and Simmons met in their native England 1945, when he was third-billed in Caesar and Cleopatra (Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh played the title roles) and Simmons had a bit part. By the time they co-starred in the romantic comedy Adam & Evelyne (1949), Simmons had become a star, earning an Oscar® nomination for playing Ophelia in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (1948). They married in 1950 and went to the U.S. when Granger was signed to an MGM contract. By the mid-1950s, they were among Hollywood's top stars, Granger in swashbucklers like The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) and Scaramouche (1952), and Simmons (after going to court to free herself from her contract with Howard Hughes) in the blockbuster biblical epic, The Robe (1953). That same year, they co-starred in >I>Young Bess at MGM.

At the time, Hollywood studios were making films abroad because several European countries demanded that money earned abroad by American studios be spent in the place where it was earned. Homesick for England, Granger asked MGM to use some of those frozen funds on a film shot in England starring him and Simmons. Before that could happen, Mike Frankovich, a producer at Columbia, heard they wanted to work in England, and approached them with the script for Footsteps in the Fog. In his memoir, Sparks Fly Upward, Granger recalls that he and Simmons had reservations about the script, but liked the malevolent characters, and agreed to do it if the script was rewritten. MGM agreed to loan Granger to Columbia. Then Frankovich told Granger that the director was Arthur Lubin, best known for directing "Francis the Talking Mule" films. Granger writes that he and Simmons were horrified, but because they wanted to go home, they agreed. Granger claims that he and veteran Hollywood screenwriter Lenore Coffee rewrote the script in the car on the daily trip from London's Dorchester Hotel to Shepperton Studios, where the film was shot.

Among the pleasures of Footsteps in the Fog are the Technicolor cinematography of Christopher Challis, who worked as camera operator or cinematographer on most of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's stunning color films, and Benjamin Frankel's elegant musical score. The lilting main theme, "Lily Watkins' Tune," was recorded by several British orchestras.

The all-British cast includes some familiar character actors, including Finlay Currie and Peter Bull, as well as two up-and-coming younger players, Bill Travers and Belinda Lee. Travers would go on to star in such international productions as The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1957) and Born Free (1966). Lee had been in films less than two years, and was still in her ingénue period. Before long, she would embark on a blonde bombshell phase, rivaling Diana Dors as England's answer to Marilyn Monroe. In the late 1950s, Lee moved to Italy, embarked on a scandalous affair with a married Italian nobleman, made a series of sexually provocative films, and died in a car accident at the age of 26.

The New York Times critic called Footsteps in the Fog "A sad homecoming occasion... for the two British performers, although the lady, at least, manages to hold her own as a Borgia-type wren. She and Bill Travers, as an imaginative lawyer, keep it going, slowly and never too surely." The Time Magazine reviewer was more enthusiastic: "Granger and Simmons have managed to make their evildoers a couple of the year's most attractive film people."

Director: Arthur Lubin
Producer: M. J. Frankovich
Screenplay: Lenore Coffee, Dorothy Davenport, from an original story by W.W. Jacobs, adapted by Arthur Pierson
Cinematography: Christopher Challis
Editor: Alan Osbiston
Costume Design: Beatrice Dawson, Elizabeth Haffenden
Art Direction: Wilfred Shingleton
Music: Benjamin Frankel
Cast: Stewart Granger (Stephen Lowry), Jean Simmons (Lily Watkins), Bill Travers (David Macdonald), Finlay Currie (Inspector Peters), Ronald Squire (Alfred Travers), Belinda Lee (Elizabeth Travers), Peter Bull (Brasher).
C-90m.

by Margarita Landazuri
Footsteps In The Fog

Footsteps in the Fog

Redolent with the menacing Victorian atmosphere of melodramas such as Gaslight (1944) and The Lodger (1944), Footsteps in the Fog (1955) stars Stewart Granger and Jean Simmons, then husband and wife, as a murderous London businessman and his scheming maid. The film begins at the funeral of Stephen Lowry's rich hypochondriac wife, and it soon becomes clear that he's poisoned her. The wife's maid, Lily, finds out and blackmails Lowry to advance her station. They embark on an affair, but there are several fiendish twists before both of them get their comeuppances. Granger and Simmons met in their native England 1945, when he was third-billed in Caesar and Cleopatra (Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh played the title roles) and Simmons had a bit part. By the time they co-starred in the romantic comedy Adam & Evelyne (1949), Simmons had become a star, earning an Oscar® nomination for playing Ophelia in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (1948). They married in 1950 and went to the U.S. when Granger was signed to an MGM contract. By the mid-1950s, they were among Hollywood's top stars, Granger in swashbucklers like The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) and Scaramouche (1952), and Simmons (after going to court to free herself from her contract with Howard Hughes) in the blockbuster biblical epic, The Robe (1953). That same year, they co-starred in >I>Young Bess at MGM. At the time, Hollywood studios were making films abroad because several European countries demanded that money earned abroad by American studios be spent in the place where it was earned. Homesick for England, Granger asked MGM to use some of those frozen funds on a film shot in England starring him and Simmons. Before that could happen, Mike Frankovich, a producer at Columbia, heard they wanted to work in England, and approached them with the script for Footsteps in the Fog. In his memoir, Sparks Fly Upward, Granger recalls that he and Simmons had reservations about the script, but liked the malevolent characters, and agreed to do it if the script was rewritten. MGM agreed to loan Granger to Columbia. Then Frankovich told Granger that the director was Arthur Lubin, best known for directing "Francis the Talking Mule" films. Granger writes that he and Simmons were horrified, but because they wanted to go home, they agreed. Granger claims that he and veteran Hollywood screenwriter Lenore Coffee rewrote the script in the car on the daily trip from London's Dorchester Hotel to Shepperton Studios, where the film was shot. Among the pleasures of Footsteps in the Fog are the Technicolor cinematography of Christopher Challis, who worked as camera operator or cinematographer on most of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's stunning color films, and Benjamin Frankel's elegant musical score. The lilting main theme, "Lily Watkins' Tune," was recorded by several British orchestras. The all-British cast includes some familiar character actors, including Finlay Currie and Peter Bull, as well as two up-and-coming younger players, Bill Travers and Belinda Lee. Travers would go on to star in such international productions as The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1957) and Born Free (1966). Lee had been in films less than two years, and was still in her ingénue period. Before long, she would embark on a blonde bombshell phase, rivaling Diana Dors as England's answer to Marilyn Monroe. In the late 1950s, Lee moved to Italy, embarked on a scandalous affair with a married Italian nobleman, made a series of sexually provocative films, and died in a car accident at the age of 26. The New York Times critic called Footsteps in the Fog "A sad homecoming occasion... for the two British performers, although the lady, at least, manages to hold her own as a Borgia-type wren. She and Bill Travers, as an imaginative lawyer, keep it going, slowly and never too surely." The Time Magazine reviewer was more enthusiastic: "Granger and Simmons have managed to make their evildoers a couple of the year's most attractive film people." Director: Arthur Lubin Producer: M. J. Frankovich Screenplay: Lenore Coffee, Dorothy Davenport, from an original story by W.W. Jacobs, adapted by Arthur Pierson Cinematography: Christopher Challis Editor: Alan Osbiston Costume Design: Beatrice Dawson, Elizabeth Haffenden Art Direction: Wilfred Shingleton Music: Benjamin Frankel Cast: Stewart Granger (Stephen Lowry), Jean Simmons (Lily Watkins), Bill Travers (David Macdonald), Finlay Currie (Inspector Peters), Ronald Squire (Alfred Travers), Belinda Lee (Elizabeth Travers), Peter Bull (Brasher). C-90m. by Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Working titles of the film were Interruption, Rebound and Deadlock. Marjorie Rhodes' name was misspelled "Margory" in both the opening and closing the cast credits. A May 1954 Daily Variety news item notes that Patricia Medina was under consideration for the lead role and that Bob Goldstein was to produce the film. October 1954 news items in both Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety include Sir Cedric Hardwicke in the cast, but he did not appear in the completed film. Felix Aylmer is also included in some cast lists, but did not appear in the completed film. The same items report that the screenplay was to be written by Dorothy Reid and Mel Dinelli. Dinelli's contribution, if any, to the finished script has not been determined. Stewart Granger was borrowed from M-G-M for the picture, the first made with his wife, Jean Simmons, since M-G-M's 1953 production Young Bess (see below).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 1955

Released in United States September 1955

In turn-of-the-century London a man murders his wife, but is witnessed by his maid. Because she secretly loves him, she blackmails him and he plots to kill her.

Released in United States September 1955

Released in United States Fall October 1955