Dangerous Corner (1934) Poster

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let sleeping dogs lie!!!
kidboots5 March 2009
Virginia Bruce was a vision of blonde loveliness, who started off at Paramount in bit parts (lady in waiting to Jeanette MacDonald in "The Love Parade", one of the chorus girls in "Safety in Numbers") When she married John Gilbert, strangely her career took off (he was at the end of his career and sadly almost at the end of his life). "Dangerous Corner" was made around this time and paired her with Melvyn Douglas. This is an interesting "what if" film from an intriguing play by J.B. Priestley. The action takes place one night at a dinner party, a year after the suicide of one of the partners in a publishing firm and the theft of some bonds. Gordon (Henry Wadsworth) is tuning the radio when a fuse goes and a game of tell the truth goes horribly wrong. I found it a fascinating film definitely helped by a superior cast. Not only Virginia Bruce and Melvyn Douglas but Conrad Nagel, with his beautiful speaking voice (he was a founding member of the Academy of Motion Pictures). Erin O'Brien Moore was an underrated actress from the stage who was very memorable as Humphrey Bogart's wife in "Black Legion" (1937). Betty Furness was also good as the sweet young wife, whose life wasn't as happy as everyone thought. Recommended.
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Things are seldom what they seem ...
GManfred5 April 2011
That's the start of a song from HMS Pinafore, and this picture goes on to prove just that. "Dangerous Corner" is a filmed stage play and is a fascinating character study of a group of people with skeletons cascading out of their respective closets. On the surface, it seems one of their number has committed suicide over some embezzled funds. Please note that 'on the surface' is the operative term in this engrossing film. All concerned turn in good performances and the dialogue ranges from clichéd to the profound to the philosophic, and you can't leave the room or else you'll lose the thread of the story - remember, it's only 65 minutes long and with a lot of plot squeezed in. This is a timeless parable about human frailty and appetites and layered relationships. Nevertheless, it becomes all the more interesting to consider that it was made in 1934. They think like us, exhibit our own doubts and weaknesses but all are in evening clothes and smoke and drink at all hours, all of which gives the proceedings a surreal feel, that we are eavesdropping on a living museum scene. You think of how alien such a lifestyle seems today. "Dangerous Corner" turned up on TCM the other morning and is not available in any format. If it comes on again, you should do yourself a favor and watch it.
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Thought-provoking Mystery Ahead of It's Time
sobaok13 August 2001
This film is full of surprises, twists and turns. The whodunit theme has the added plus of making the viewer think about big issues like, "what is truth?" The Dangerous Corner is taken when the main characters "spill their guts out" -- telling secrets and hidden feelings that lead only to conflict, hurt and despair. The film supports the theory, "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" -- purporting that the mind can only come up with meager "small truths". The mystery is eventually solved in this innovative, intriguing film. Wonderful Virginia Bruce is on hand to admire, along with dapper Melvyn Douglas, Conrad Nagel and hammy Ian Keith. I've watched this film many times and had great conversations with friends afterwards. Unusual!
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Very modern and sophisticated
calvinnme10 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This film is a breath of fresh air compared to other films released immediately after the production code went into effect. It manages to retain a realistic depiction of human behavior without actually breaking the code. The film has to do with five young people working at a publishing concern. They are apparently good friends on top of everything else. Ann (Virginia Bruce) is "burning the publishing business at both ends" and has a frustrated and long term suitor in the person of Charles (Melvyn Douglas). Two of the other members of the firm are married, the final member of the firm, Martin, is unseen except in flash-back and is single. One of the members of the firm (Conrad Nagel as Chatfield) has forgotten his anniversary, and the other guys help him out by arranging a party at the office for the couple. While everyone is celebrating a call comes in to cash a government bond that is being held in the office safe. Chatfield asks Charles to get the bond from the safe. Charles opens the safe and declares that the bond is missing. Everyone at the party denies knowing what happened to the money and all four men who worked in the office had keys to the safe. Only Martin is not at the office that day, and Charles drives out to talk with him about the matter the next morning. When Charles arrives at Martin's house he finds him dead from a gunshot wound, ruled a suicide by an inquest. Everyone thus assumes Martin stole the money. A year passes and the young people running the publishing concern along with their wives are having another party. A tube in the radio burns out and there is no spare. The conversation then turns to Martin and the events of the year before. Confession follows confession as a true picture of what really happened comes together and friendships and marriages are smashed. We're then told via title card that what we just saw is what could have happened. What really happened is that there actually was a spare tube for the radio and the festivities continued unabated by probing conversation. What is interesting is that all that is being admitted here is that the conversation never took place - that doesn't mean that the dirty dark secrets in the alternate chain of events weren't necessarily real, it just means whatever secrets there are pertaining to the events of the year before remain unspoken. The movie raises the interesting question - if knowing the absolute truth does no good and only serves to break everyone's spirit and faith in what they hold fast to in life, does it serve a purpose in having it known? It's an interesting question that is left as open as the resolution of this film. Highly recommended.
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Two "Movie Different Than Original Play" Plot Points
TomInSanFrancisco15 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Did anyone else notice that as the movie goes on and all of the characters' secrets are revealed, the character of Gordon (Betty's husband) is left with nothing to say -- and that when Betty reveals that her marriage to Gordon has been unhappy, we're not told why? That's because Hollywood left out what the original play revealed: Gordon was in love with Martin. Knowing that fact helps you understand why Betty was unhappy, and unhappy in a way that someone might hide from friends and family (particularly in that era).Leaving that plot point out doesn't ruin the movie, it just leaves Gordon standing around a lot at the end. Also, the play ends as soon as you get past the point where Gordon gets the radio going -- the secrets will not be unraveled after all, but you're left with the sense that these "happy" people have merely avoided what will eventually all come out with devastating results. It's not a happy ending. In the movie, we do get a happy ending of sorts, a marriage proposal. It changes the tone completely, and I'd say weakens the effect.
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The past is a different country!
Baxter de Wahl9 February 2004
It's amazing how different 1934 looks to us now, on the evidence of this movie. An ensemble cast of no more than eight, all with speaking parts and none of them filmed anywhere but the standard three sets. Camera angles are static and rigid, only the occasional pan out when confessions are being made and these are legion. Clearly this script could not have been filmed without the invention of cigarettes - they are central to almost every scene and crucial to the turn of the plot itself. The plot is strong and rather typical of J B Priestly in that much of the drama consists of revelations and contradictions. No-one is quite what they seem!
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When the music's over
sol8 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
****SPOILERS**** It's just a typical day at the office with Ann and Charles, Virgina Bruce & Melvyn Douglas, horsing around with each other as the guy running the place, a big time New York publishing firm, Robert, Conrad Nagel, is hard at work in his business of getting clients with interesting and money making manuscripts to have him put their work on the market. It also happens to be Robert and his wife Frida's, Erin O'Brien-Moore, fifth wedding anniversary and the absent minded Robert, in him being reminded by Charles, had forgot to buy Fridaa a wedding present. What soon spoils everything is that one of the firm's client a Mr. McIntyre who's on a sea cruse sends a telegram wanting his payment for a book he's to have published. Looking for the US Government Bond locked in the company safe that to be McIntyre's fee it's found to be missing! This sets off a panic between those responsible for keeping McIntyre's money in a safe place with among the four who have the key to the safe Charles Robert Godon,Henry Wodsworth, and Martin, Ian Keith, it's Martin who's not accounted for at the office. When Martin is finally tracked down, by phone, at his country getaway he has no idea where Mr. McIntyre's bond is. With Charles driving over to Martin's place to see if he's holding something back from him Robert & Gordon he's found lying on the floor shot to death with a bullet in his chest! It's now a year later with Martin's death ruled a suicide by a court of inquiry everyone who was around on that fateful day including Gordon's 18 year old wife Betty, Betty Furness, get together for a nighttime tea party to talk over events of the day. It's when Gordon turns on the radio,the Victrola was on the brink, to have some music to listen too and sooth everyones nerves that things take a turn for the worse. The radio suddenly conks out and Gordon can't find a tube to replace the burned out one. With no music to relax and dance too all the people at the party start to run off their mouths about the only person not there Martin and what they did on the day of his death one year ago when he killed himself! And it's that loose talk that brings out the real truth of Martin's death that everyone at the party had kept hidden from both the court of inquiry as well as themselves! ****SPOILERS**** The film "Dangerous Corner" brings out how people when not occupied with the trivial things in life can really put their minds to work and come up with thought-provoking ides and insights in their lives and the lives of others! Martin was dead and buried for a year with no one wanting to go beyond the fact that he killed himself when it was about to be discovered that he stole McIntyre's Bond. As the truth started coming out among those at the party the truth was far more different then what was publicly known about the dead Martin. And that truth would have never came to see the light of day, even though the events took place at night, if Gordon somehow found a new tube for the radio to keep the music playing and keep his as well as everyone else at the party occupied with it! *****MAJOR SPOILER**** It's then when you think that it's all over with the films sad and depressing ending you unexpectedly find out that there's another side to it! And then like radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say "Now here's the rest of the Story".
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Clever Turnaround
dougdoepke7 April 2017
Plot— elite members of a publishing house gather for a celebratory evening only to find out one of their staff has apparently committed suicide. In the emotional aftermath, a number of hidden truths emerge.

There are elements of a mystery in the story, but overall, the film amounts to considerably more. The narrative appears fairly conventional until the upshot. Then the threads that have accumulated are exposed in an unexpected manner, and we're left with considerable food for thought. As a lesson in "sleeping dogs" the film succeeds brilliantly; as movie however, the narrative requires real patience. There's no action and darn few scene changes. Instead, the cast stands around in evening clothes and talks and talks-- it is, after all, a filmed stage play. At least a few interesting personal embarrassments get revealed as the story moves on, but how interesting you find the characters themselves is, I think, a matter of taste. Except for actor Keith's overdone Martin, the acting helps by being nicely accomplished.

Anyway, as a dramatized lesson in social truths, the movie rates highly. As a form of sheer entertainment, however, the movie's average, at best. My advice is to exercise patience because the upshot does furnish timely food for thought.
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Conventional Morality again takes it on the chin
ScenicRoute13 September 2011
Watch this movie from 1934 (from a 1932 English play by J.B. Priestley)to see how early the English-speaking elite began to smash up their values, with a direct path to the mayhem and anomie of the 1960s/70s, and now the politically correct straightjackets of the early 21st century. I don't give it a 10 because of the excisions made to satisfy the censors - too bad for that, as it would have made the movie even more delicious. For delicious it is, watching people throw up on their values as they wear magnificent gowns, even if we are living with the consequences now. Watch it to see what we need to recover... Priestley is of the GB Shaw school - tradition and the wisdom of our ancestors is out the window, with no one knowing at the time what great new world awaits us. Unfortunately, we know now, and owe it all to these misguided geniuses for dramatic dialogue.
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Good, but confusing!
Norm-3030 October 2000
This is an intriquing mystery of a bond theft and a suicide (?) that is discussed by a group of people (connected with both) over dinner. There are sooo many flashbacks and plot twists/changes, that it becomes quite confusing as to "what's what"! The ending leaves you with a feeling of "that's IT?!?!", & I'd recommend that you see it SEVERAL times before everything "sinks in"!
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