Jeopardy (1953)

Jeopardy (also sometimes referred to as A Woman in Jeopardy) (1953): 4/5

Barbara Stanwyck plays a mother, Helen Stilwin, who goes on a trip with her husband and son, hoping for a lovely family beach vacation. What happens is less than idyllic; her husband (Barry Sullivan) gets trapped in the rising tide. She must race against time to save him, but runs into a few serious obstacles along the way.

I found this film to be very interesting. Quite a big chunk of the film, in the beginning, was completely calm and peaceful. The family was on a road trip, enjoying the company and looking forward to a fantastic time.

Narration is provided by Barbara that alludes to the trouble that lies ahead, but for the most part the mood is quite pleasant until the moments leading up to Mr. Stilwin’s accident.

When the accident finally happens, the film becomes very suspenseful and heart-wrenching all at once. It flips between Helen as she hurries to find help and Mr. Stilwin trapped on the beach with his son, watching the tide rise and wondering how long he has left to live.

(via moviepostershop.com)

A heavy feeling of anxiety takes over in the viewer throughout this portion of the film. It makes you think about the lengths you would go to in order to save your loved ones, and how you would react if your attempts were not successful.

The break-out performance comes from Ralph Meeker. Meeker portrays Lawson, a criminal who encounters Helen as she is searching for someone to help her husband. Meeker portrays the quite heartless character perfectly.

Not an ounce of sympathy for Helen’s plight comes from him. He truly seems like a hardened criminal on the run, which makes the audience hate him but also proves that he is an effective actor.

This film’s got a little bit of everything — hope, suspense, drama, fear, heart-warming scenes and equally heart-wrenching scenes. While it isn’t necessarily a multi-level or complicated plot, the weaving of scenes focused on Helen and then on her husband keep the viewer on the edge of his or her seat.

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3 thoughts on “Jeopardy (1953)

  1. Are you excited for the Oscars this evening? I’m now pulling for Midnight in Paris and The Help.
    And thanks for giving me so many new titles to view!

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