Director: Ted Tetzlaff
Year Released: 1949
Lil' Tommy (Bobby Driscoll), who is known for telling tall tales, is on the fire escape sleeping one night when he sees his neighbors murder a man with a pair of scissors - naturally, when he tries to convince Mom (Barbara Hale) and Dad (Arthur Kennedy) and even the police, no one believes him (fittingly, the movie starts with a line from one of Aesop's fables). Tetzlaff was best known as a cinematographer (he was D.P. on Notorious) and the directors he worked with (specifically Hitchcock) had to have really rubbed off on him, because this is a tense, smartly written and meticulously paced noir which would not have worked if not for the believability of Driscoll. Child actors tend to be a mixed bunch talent-wise, but he's so exceptional he even won a special Academy Award for it ... unfortunately, real life was less kind, with a descent into drugs and crime and dying alone in his early 30's.