What is this b&w movie about a small town post war impersonator?
November 4, 2017 9:51 PM   Subscribe

What is this movie? I'm sure I watched it within the past few years, probably on Turner Classics. It was black and white. I took it took place in a small town. A drifter or somebody shows up at an elderly lady's house and begins helping her out with chores, maybe? Maybe he's impersonating a war buddy? Maybe he's a deserter, post world war 1? He gets found out in the end I think?
posted by J0 to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The original The Ladykillers?
posted by theweasel at 9:57 PM on November 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

No idea what the old B & W film might be but if you liked the theme you might also enjoy the 1982 French filmThe Return of Martin Guerre which sounds along the same lines.
posted by AuroraSky at 10:25 PM on November 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's a long shot, but could you be thinking of The Intruder? Produced and directed by Roger Corman from a screenplay by Charles Beaumont, from his own novel. It stars William Shatner as a young man who comes to a small southern town as a preacher, with sinister ulterior motives. I don't want to spoil anything but it's not a camp shlockfest - it's a serious movie about real issues that are relevant today.

B&W, 1962.

It's a pretty intense film, worth a look.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:08 PM on November 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

It’s The Night of the Hunter!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:06 AM on November 5, 2017

My first thought was also The Night of the Hunter...but, the widow was the mother of 2 young children (i.e., not elderly) and although Mitchum's character was pretending to be a preacher, I don't believe he claimed to know the widow's husband—although I wouldn't swear to that last point.
posted by she's not there at 4:28 AM on November 5, 2017

These movies all sound great! But I don't think they're it... I'm pretty sure the plot was pretty low-key - no murdering, hidden fortunes, and also not a comedy.
posted by J0 at 6:11 AM on November 5, 2017

Sounds a lot like an episode of Mad Men.
posted by scratch at 6:30 AM on November 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

If it wasn't an elderly woman... I am trying to remember the name of a b&w movie made shortly after WWII in which a former soldier shows up at a woman's isolated house, he claims to be her MIA husband's war buddy but it gradually comes out that he is mentally disturbed. The woman feels responsible for him but by the end of the movie, she's extricated herself from the relationship with the help of another man, maybe her actual husband.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:32 AM on November 5, 2017

Ah. Mine is called Desire Me and starred Greer Garson and Robert Mitchum.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:09 AM on November 5, 2017

Twin that plot summary sounds exactly like the movie, but I'm quite certain it's not desire me.
posted by J0 at 7:54 AM on November 5, 2017

Was it Night Must Fall? They used to play that on TCM a fair bit.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:34 AM on November 5, 2017

Perhaps you're thinking of Hitchcock's Shadow Of A Doubt?
posted by Rash at 11:05 AM on November 5, 2017

My synopsis mixed up a couple movies... in Desire Me, the former soldier/war buddy was not mentally disturbed but a con man who deliberately deceived the woman by pretending to be a lost soul.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:22 PM on November 5, 2017

Not a movie and not in b&w, but your ask reminds me of Sneaky Pete, a series available on Amazon Video. The gist of the story is that a con man, recently released from prison, impersonates his cellmate and insinuates himself into the cellmate's family. Sounds like a stretch, but he did look something like the cellmate, and the family had not seen their relative for many years.
posted by merejane at 11:14 AM on November 6, 2017

It might just be Night Must Fall. I'll have to rewatch to clear up memories.
posted by J0 at 7:19 AM on November 8, 2017

The trailer isn't ideal, for showing the plot, but it's a nifty movie and could easily be one that would stick with a person.

To complicate matters a bit though there were similar movies made, in part, no doubt, due to the success of Night Must Fall, like this one, Beware My Lovely with Ida Lupino and they even remade Night Must Fall with Albert Finney. (Which I haven't seen.)

There really are a lot of noirish movies that roughly fit the description, so if you find it isn't one of these maybe we can figure out some other options. If you can add any further little details that might help too.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:55 AM on November 8, 2017

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