Stranger in the House (1967 film)

Stranger In The House is a 1967 crime drama directed and written by Pierre Rouve (from the novel by Georges Simenon), produced by Anatole de Grunwald, and starring James Mason, Geraldine Chaplin, and Bobby Darin. The movie is also known as Cop-Out and is a remake of the 1942 French film Strangers in the House (Les inconnus dans la maison). The film was remade in 1997.

Stranger in the House
Directed byPierre Rouve
Produced byAnatole de Grunwald
Dimitri De Grunwald
Written byPierre Rouve
Georges Simenon
StarringJames Mason
Geraldine Chaplin
Bobby Darin
Music byJohn Scott
CinematographyKenneth Higgins
Edited byErnest Walter
Distributed byThe Rank Organisation (UK)
Cinerama Releasing Corporation (USA)
Release date
  • May 23, 1967 (1967-05-23) (London)

  • January 1968 (1968-01) (US)
Running time
104 minutes
Box office$255,000[1]

Eric Burdon & The Animals recorded the song "Ain't That So" for the film. The song was co-written by band member Vic Briggs and John Scott, composer of the film score, and was produced and arranged by Briggs.


John Sawyer was once a brilliant defense lawyer but has given himself up to alcohol. His wife has left him, his sister is ashamed of him, while his daughter Angela, who still lives in his large house, despises him. She follows her own life with a wild group of friends led by two rich boys, one being her cousin Desmond.

Two poor boys are also part of the gang: an American criminal on the run called Barney and a Cypriot immigrant called Jo, who Angela falls for. After a vicious fight with Jo, Barney is immobilised and Angela hides him in the attic of her house, where he is shot dead by an intruder. The murder weapon is planted on Jo, who is arrested and put on trial. Nobody in town wants to defend him, so Angela begs her father to do so.

John does not believe the case against Jo and starts his own investigation. Through careful observation and questioning, he works out who wanted Barney dead. It was his nephew Desmond, whom Barney humiliated when he hired him a whore. John confronts Desmond in his parents' house and, reading Dostoyevsky to him, makes him see that his only course is to confess. As John leaves the house, a proud and thankful Angela takes his arm.


Critical response

Some critics felt that, although the casting of Chaplin and Darin was meant to appeal to younger audiences, both were nonetheless too old for their characters. Others thought that the title Cop-Out might have worked better (especially with audiences of the 1960s) without its trendy camera work and wearisome generation-gap propaganda.[2]


ABC reported a loss of $795,000 on the film.[1]


  1. "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses", Variety, 31 May 1973 p 3
  2. synopsis by Hal Erickson at website
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