Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ON DANGEROUS GROUND


ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1952). Director: Nicholas Ray.

"Sometimes people who are never alone are the loneliest."

Two lonely, tormented individuals -- Jim, a sadistic cop (Robert Ryan) and Mary, a blind woman (Ida Lupino) -- are brought together in an unusual, heart-breaking fashion in this unusual love story/crime thriller. Tough cop Jim Wilson is advised by his colleagues and his boss (Ed Begley) that he's losing control and is assigned to a murder in a small upstate town. There he meets the vulnerable if strong blind woman whose brother may be the chief suspect. While Lupino is perhaps a bit too restrained as Mary, Robert Ryan is terrific as Jim, and Ward Bond is also outstanding as the overwrought father of the murdered girl. Sumner Williams also makes an impression as the mentally-disturbed Danny. Nita Talbot has a brief but compelling bit as a sexy underaged gal in a bar who asks Ryan for a drink. This is a moody piece, full of poignant moments, held together by an excellent score by Bernard Herrmann. It's too bad some of the romantic strains are muted; Herrmann wrote a nocturne based on this score that is just beautiful.

Verdict: Not for all tastes, but compelling and different. ***.

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