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

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Lizabeth Scott and Charlton Heston
DARK CITY (1950). Director: William Dieterle.

"We're a great pair. I haven't got a voice and you have no ear."

Danny Haley (Charlton Heston), who has a shady past, participates in a poker game which he thinks is honest but ultimately fleeces a former soldier, Arthur Winant (Don DeFore) of a five thousand dollar check that doesn't belong to him, causing Winant to commit suicide. As Haley dodges questions from Captain Garvey (Dean Jagger) and words of love from smitten songstress Fran (Lizabeth Scott), a mysterious figure with a big ring is murdering all the men who were in the card game. Trying to track down the killer, Haley even becomes involved with Winant's widow, Victoria (Viveca Lindfors) and her little boy, Billy (Mark Keuning). Heston was introduced in this picture and has a certain intensity and ability, even if one couldn't say he was exactly a brilliant performer. Scott and Lindfors are both more than adequate if not incredibly impressive; both have been better. DeFore, Jagger, Ed Begley, Harry Morgan and especially Jack Webb [in a role very different from what he played on Dragnet] give the most notable performances. The characters could all have used a little more dimension, but at least this holds the attention and has a nice ending.

Verdict: Not prime film noir but not without interest. ***.

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