When does washing the dishes become a generator of fear? When it's shot in silhouette, of course. Yesterday I was feeling the post-war tensions mount in Fred Zinnemann's manhunt picture Act of Violence (1948) when I noticed how the most mundane of tasks can be manipulated to keep us in suspense. Frank (Van Heflin) and Edith (Janet Leigh) are washing up after a late supper when the outwardly agitated Frank hears a sudden noise outside. He leaps up, quickly shuts off the noisy tap, and douses the kitchen lights thereby setting up this simple, tasty shot. The pair remain rigidly still, listening. Why are they so afraid? Because Frank is being stalked by a half-crazed former POW (Robert Ryan) who he betrayed in a Nazi prison camp, that's why. I like the sort-of semi-silhouette here because it allows us to read the questioning fear on Leigh's face while still enveloping them in that suspenseful darkness. It's straightforwardly effective in the context of a thriller.