My Blood Runs Cold (1965): Willliam Conrad’s Neo-Noir Thriller, Starring Troy Donahue as Insane Youth

William Conrad. directed My Blood Runs Cold, a neo noir thriller film starring Troy Donahue, Joey Heatherton and Barry Sullivan.

It was the second of three thrillers Conrad made for Warner Bros.

After a car accident, Julie meets a stranger named Ben Gunther (Donahue) who declares love for her. Ben believes he and the young woman, Julie Merriday, are the reincarnations of lovers from an earlier time. Ben calls Julie ‘Barbara’ and gives her a gold locket with her picture in it. Ben takes her sailing and they swim to a cave where he tells her he found the locket.

Aunt Sarah confirms Ben’s stories that match the family history. Julie’s controlling father and her boyfriend distrust Ben. But he encourages her to run off with him and get married. which would fulfill her need for independence .

On a stormy night the couple sail away to elope. The father calls the Sheriff who discovers Ben’s real name is Arthur Maine, an escaped murderer from an asylum. The police search for the sailboat by helicopter. Julie finds a diary of Benjamin H. Gunther dated 1874 on the boat that exposes Ben’s fraud.

To escape the police, the couple land the boat. There is an extended chase and boyfriend Harry tries to reason with ‘Ben’. Julie escapes but the two men climb a high sand plant, and in the struggle Ben falls to his death.

The role represented a considerable change of pace for Donahue, who embodied the type of the sensitive romantic heartthrob.

It was shot on the Monterey Peninsula in late 1964.

Contrived and full of plot holes, the wordy script was poorly written, but the picture was moderately  popular at the box-office.

Troy Donahue as Ben Gunther
Joey Heatherton as Julie Merriday
Barry Sullivan as Julian Merriday
Nicolas Coster as Harry Lindsay
Jeanette Nolan as Aunt Sarah
Russell Thorson as Sheriff
Ben Wright as Lansbury
Shirley Mitchell as Mrs. Courtland
Howard McNear as Henry
Howard Wendell as Mayor
John Holland as Mr. Courtland
John McCook as Owen


Directed, produced by William Conrad
Screenplay by John Mantley; Story by John Meredyth Lucas
Cinematography Sam Leavitt
Edited by William H. Ziegler
Music by George Duning
Distributed by Warner Bros
Release date” March 24, 1965
Running time 104 minutes