"This is the film that, above all, increased my knowledge of the trade. I learned how to organize a film," director Richard Fleischer said about Follow Me Quietly. The filmmaker learned well: his subsequent career included the film noir gem The Narrow Margin, the family favorite 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the sci-fi milestone Soylent Green.
William Lundigan stars in Follow Me Quietly as a cop on the trail of an elusive serial killer who strikes when darkness and rain fall. Anthony Mann shares a credit for the story, a tale similar to his work (uncredited) on the previous year's He Walked by Night. Slip into the shadows (cinematography by The Body Snatcher's Robert de Grasse creates a sinister mood). Embrace the night. Follow into classic noir.
The sound of a woman pacing back and forth in the nighttime rain punctuates the opening credits for FOLLOW ME QUIETLY. She enters a bar and gets the once-over from a departing customer. However, she's not merely a streetwalker but a journalist--although Lieutenant Harry Grant (William Lundigan) clearly doesn't think that's much better. Grant and Art Collins (Jeff Corey) are on a case, pursuing the Judge, a serial killer who righteously strangles his victims. The journalist, Ann Gorman (Dorothy Patrick), is looking for a sensational story. She's in luck--the Judge strikes again.
FOLLOW ME QUIETLY is a taut, 59-minute thriller--one in a series made by director Richard Fleischer early in his career. When the police construct a dummy to help identify the Judge, Fleischer produces a moment of genuine frisson--the dummy is slumped in a chair when, unseen by the police, it suddenly moves. FOLLOW ME QUIETLY is also notable for the acerbic performance by Corey--one of the great American supporting actors (LITTLE BIG MAN, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID)--and for the climax, shot on location, when the police finally confront the Judge.
FOLLOW ME QUIETLY is unique film noir in which a psychotic killer, known as the Judge, ends the lives of those he deems unworthy. Police use information from witnesses to create a life-size mannequin of their quarry which they keep in the station; setting the stage for a daring switcheroo. The film features a great performance by William Lundigan as the obsessed detective.
FOLLOW ME QUIETLY was edited by Elmo Williams who, over the years, worked with director Richard Fleischer in a number of capacities. Williams was Fleischer's editor on BODYGUARD (1948) and 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954), his second unit director on THE VIKINGS (1958), his director of photography for the African action sequences on THE BIG GAMBLE (1961), and produced TORA! TORA! TORA!, which Fleischer co-directed with Kinji Fukasaku and Toshio Masuda in 1970.
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