My Blood Runs Cold (1965): Film Noir Starring Troy Donahue

One of Troy Donahue’s last roles as a major star, My Blood Runs Cold is a film noir thriller directed by William Conrad.

The script was written by John Mantley, based on the story by John Meredyth Lucas.

Donahue wanted to move beyond his established screen image of the late 1950s and early 1960s as an “all-American heartthrob,” but his acting abilities were limited, and his fans did not want to see him as a “crazy killer.”

After a car accident, Julie meets a stranger named Ben Gunther, who tells her he is in love with her. He believes that they are the reincarnations of lovers from an earlier time.

Ben calls Julie ‘Barbara’ and gives her a gold locket with her picture in it, and takes her sailing.

Aunt Sarah confirms Ben’s stories that match the family history. Julie’s controlling father and boyfriend distrust Ben. He convinces Julie of his beliefs and encourages her to run off with him.

The father calls the Sheriff who discovers Ben’s real name is Arthur Maine, an escaped murderer from an asylum. Julie gets scared after finding 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 and run on a beach. After a chase Julie’s boyfriend Harry tries to reason with ‘Ben.’

Julie escapes but the two men climb a high sand plant platform, and in the struggle Ben falls to his death.

Shot on the Monterey Peninsula, the film has its moments, though the narrative is full of plot holes and does not make sense–on any level.

Though penned by most critics, the movie recouped its expense and even made some profit for Warner, the very studio that had made Donahue a star.


Running time: 104 Minutes

Produced and directed by William Conrad

Music: George Duning

Camera: Sam Leavitt

Editing: William H. Ziegle

Release date: March 24, 1965

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