The Whistler


Film-Noir / Mystery

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 33%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 33% · 100 ratings
IMDb Rating 6.3/10 10 1206 1.2K


Top cast

Gloria Stuart as Alice Walker
Trevor Bardette as The Bum in the Next Bed
J. Carrol Naish as The Killer
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
552.49 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 0 min
Seeds 14
1 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 0 min
Seeds 31

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bob.decker 7 / 10

Entertaining, exemplary B picture

I watched this last night on TCM and found it not only thoroughly entertaining but a textbook example of how a B-grade picture from a poverty row studio could rise above its budget limitations thanks to the efforts of a clever director (William Castle) and strong players (Richard Dix and J. Carroll Naish in particular). Superior in some respects to entries in parallel series based on radio programs (like Universal's Inner Sanctum with Lon Chaney, Jr.), perhaps the most appealing aspect of "The Whistler" is the economy with which the story is told. There are no needless lines, no needless scenes. Whether it belongs within the "noir" cycle is a matter to be debated, but nevertheless "The Whistler" has its share of the quirky characters and shadowy settings that typify that genre, not to mention the creepy portrayal by Naish of a hit-man who reads a monograph on "necrophobia" in his spare time.

Reviewed by jotix100 7 / 10

Please cancel my death!

Earl Conrad is convinced his life is worthless without his wife who has been killed overseas. Earl, who obviously can well afford it, gives ten thousand dollars to a shady character to "dispose" of someone. The only information he gives is an address, but he never tells this man he is the intended victim. The intermediary gives the address to the real killer. The shady man, who has kept half of the money, dies on the street in a confrontation with the police. Everything is set in motion as the killer cases the house where his victim lives.

At this point of the story, Earl Conrad's secretary, the loyal Alice Walker, comes to give her boss the wonderful news his wife has not died. Earl, who has been despondent, suddenly wants to live. After all, he has a good reason for wanting to annul the contract he has put on his own life. When he finds out about the go-between man death's he starts to look for his would-be-assassin. Will he be able to talk him out of killing him?

William Castle, the director of this enjoyable, and seldom seen film, makes the most of it in filling 59 minutes of celluloid with a taut drama that is credible and gives a new dimension to a crime that will be committed, but has to be stopped by all means. James Brown's photography works well in the film, as does the screen play written by Eric Taylor.

Richard Dix appears as Eric Conrad the man that puts a contract on his own life and then decides he wants to live. Gloria Stewart makes a wonderful Alice Walker, the secretary secretly in love with her boss. J Carrol Naish, who never utters a word is perfect as the killer.

The film is a curiosity not seen too often.

Reviewed by goblinhairedguy 6 / 10

quintessential "b"

Before he became a producer and conjured up all those publicity gimmicks for his cheesy horror pictures, William Castle churned out a series of nifty little pictures as a director for Harry Cohn's B unit -- including the immortal "When Strangers Marry". "The Whistler" is a clever noir that tackles the old premise of a despondent man hiring a contract killer to murder him, only to change his mind later. Castle provides a higher standard of mise-en-scene than in most pictures of this ilk, with nice camera movement and grungy, realistic sets. The absurd plot twists and lapses of logic stretch credulity to the utmost -- but that's one of the "beatitudes of the B's" (as Andrew Sarris would say). It's surprising that Cornell Woolrich was not the original author, so close is the atmosphere to his oeuvre. Dix is a bit of a cipher, but Naish is as compelling as always in another offbeat role as the philosophical hit man who suffers from fear of death; plus there are plenty of familiar faces in minor roles. The mysterious omniscient Whistler narrator is effective, if somewhat underused here. Castle went on to direct two even better entries in the series.

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