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The House on Carroll Street
The House on Carroll Street
Actors: Kelly McGillis, Jeff Daniels, Mandy Patinkin, Jessica Tandy, Jonathan Hogan
Genres: Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
PG     2003     1hr 41min

Kelly McGillis (The Accused) and Jeff Daniels (Speed) spark a fiery chemistry in thisMcCarthy-era romantic thriller that boasts "superb casting" (The Wall Street Journal), a "skillful and astute screenplay" (The Hollywood ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Kelly McGillis, Jeff Daniels, Mandy Patinkin, Jessica Tandy, Jonathan Hogan
Genres: Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/03/2003
Original Release Date: 03/04/1988
Theatrical Release Date: 03/04/1988
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 41min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

For the price, a best buy at 3 ½ stars
jammer | Laramie, Wyoming United States | 07/04/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Though the Australian reviewer?s comments are too harsh, they are entertaining with some points well-taken. But this reviewer would move the overall rating up to 3 ½ stars out of 5 possible. Having purchased the DVD and seen it without any preconceptions or prior reviews, this reviewer was pleasantly satisfied: not a classic film, but quite entertaining, keeping one on the edge of the seat pretty much throughout. There is never a dull moment, but not overly so as is too often the case in today?s hyperactive and mindless ?action and adventure? flicks. This film was definitely not written by 13-year-olds for 13-year-olds and contains a lot of well-presented material. Kelly McGillis gives a credible performance as a balanced and generally level-headed woman being persecuted by governmental agencies. Her portrayal is not the weepy, hysterical and too-vulnerable type that can find its way into films like this. Mandy Patinkin does well as a chilling, oily and thoroughly corrupted and unscrupulous politician/attorney (or whatever) with too much power in the wrong places. Jessica Tandy is good in what few scenes she has; too bad she couldn?t have had a more central role. As to the production values, the film is the letterboxed theatrical presentation at 1.66:1 (as stated on the case, and this seemed about right.) The picture, for a 1988 film, while not exceptional, is mostly clear, though with suggestions of fuzziness for purists. Overall, the image is on the dark side and there is some loss of detail in deep shade scenes, though not annoyingly so. Color fidelity of details in some scenes struck this reviewer as almost exceptionally good. The Dolby Digital mono sound is strong and clean.There are no annoying advertising impositions or preliminary and unrelated material to try to get around (something becoming increasing annoying in many new DVD releases, sometimes necessitating drastic action to curtail!) The DVD is well-packaged in a quality case. If you like a thriller in the Hitchcock vein with reasonable and well-restrained message content that doesn?t get in the way of the story, this DVD is a good buy for the price, and recommended."
An engaging, good-spirited thriller thanks to the two appeal
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 05/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When Emily Crane, a photo editor at Life Magazine, refuses to turn over to a Senate committee the names and files of a civil rights organization she's associated with, she doesn't realize she'll soon be out of a job and probably the cause of a young German being stabbed to death. That's not the least of it. Soon she'll be refusing a great hamburger while a senior Senate committee staff man uses catsup on a white dining clothe to illustrate the red menace. And finally, she'll find herself clambering over the interior catwalk of New York's Grand Central Station dome, high above the floor, while killers try to insure she trips. To my mind, The House on Carroll Street is a solid and talented, if not exceptional, child of Hitchcock.

The year is 1951 and anti-Communism hysteria is in full bloom. Congressional demagogues, black-listing and secret FBI files abound. When Emily (Kelly McGillis) loses her job, we learn she's under FBI surveillance. Agent Cochrane (Jeff Daniels) has been assigned to take secret photographs of her, find out who she talks to and to follow her about New York. He observes when, in need of a job, she is interviewed by Miss Venable (Jessica Tandy) to read to the old lady. And one afternoon, relaxing in the townhouse garden of Miss Venable's home, she overhears part of a conversation in German coming from the next house. Naturally nosy, she moves closer through the bushes, glimpses the face of a young German fellow she accidently met a day or two before on the street...and then sees the face of the Senate staff head, Ray Salwen (Mandy Patinkin). Salwen was responsible for hauling her before the committee. Something is not right. A few days later she follows the German to a Jewish cemetery and finds him writing down the names of dead Jews. He seems scared. Before long, she is helping him escape from the house on Carroll Street, only to see him stabbed to death in front of her. By now, FBI agent Cochrane not only realizes something is very off, he realizes Emily Crane has nice legs, is quite likable and may be in danger. He's puzzled when he is warned off by his superiors and then taken off her case. In solid Hitchcockian style, we have been following this nice and nosy woman while she slowly discovers skullduggery and then realizes that she has placed herself at great risk. And in equally solid Hitchcockian style, we have met the man in agent Cochrane who with persistence and humor will attempt to keep her from danger while joining her in uncovering a plot that deals with German war criminals and powerful men in high places.

The movie has well-directed set pieces, ranging from a covert meeting in a huge, dim Greenwich Village book store to a spooky breaking-and-entering into the now abandoned house on Carroll Street (where Emily meets a man with a knife) to the exploration of the tunnels below and the girders high above the Grand Central main station. Most of all, it has two instantly appealing main characters in McGillis and Daniels. Both are completely natural in their portrayals. They have guileless faces. We immediately like both of them. Daniels in particular shows the kind of open-faced honesty that makes the movie so satisfying. The caveat I have is Mandy Patinkin. He is a forceful, intense actor. Patinkin makes Salwen a creature of such supreme self-confidence, such repellant humor that Salwen doesn't just stand for the evils of the period, he disgusts us. Patinkin's self-serving, power-justifying Salwen, full of phony patriotism and contemptuous high spirits, in my opinion very nearly overbalances the movie. Patinkin is just an inch away from becoming a caricature. Added to that are two speeches that Patinkin is given to justify his actions. Unfortunately, they move over into manipulated melodrama. The speeches are so over-the-top they tend to place the movie on hold while Patinkin gives them. However, the screenwriter is Walter Bernstein, a talented man who was black-listed for years. I'm more than willing to cut him some slack.

I think The House on Carroll Street is a well-crafted semi-romantic thriller which doesn't use explosives (well, there's one), cynicism or cumbersome back stories. It has two attractive and likable leads, a plot with a message or two which keeps moving along and a bit of humor. It also has a happy ending which, in one regard, may be unexpected. The DVD transfer looks fine. It's not anamorphic. There are no extras."
A tense and well made thriller!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 01/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

""The house on Carol Street" is a bold look about these tense times of furious McCarthyism (1951) in which a young assistant refuses to answer certain information that's why she must be fired. Once the decision ahs been made, she has to earn her life, and decides to take as job as reader of a crusty employer (the unforgettable Jessica Tandy), by just $15 by week.

But trying to get the exact address, she meets a man who behaves nervously, that will be the thread that will lead her to get involved with a Nazi smuggling web that surreptitiously deals with undesirable refugees. On the road she will be involved in a fugacious love affair with a FBI agent. Mandy Patinkin is fabulous as the main villain in this likable film directed by the talented Peter Yates, that knew to impress all the possible realism that certainly remits us to Hitchcokian sequences (as the well made one in Central Station).

House on Carroll Street
jazz babe 64 | New York City | 04/11/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Good thriller. No way compares to "House on 92nd Street". Format is different. "House on Carroll Street" is a movie, while "House on 92nd Street" is a documentary intertwined into a movie...very interesting approach. For simple entertaining, I recommend it. However, it's contingent on the audience's viewpoint."