Danny Haley's bookie operation is shut down, so he and his pals need money; when Danny meets Arthur Winant, a sucker from out of town, he decoys him into a series of poker games where eventually Winant loses $5000 that isn't his...then hangs himself. But it seems Winant had a shadowy, protective elder brother who believes in personal revenge. And each of the card players in turn feels a faceless doom inexorably closing in. Dark streets and sexy torch-singer Fran lend ambience. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dark City is likely most notable for seeing then-supporting actor Jack Webb (actually quite good) teamed with Harry Morgan, some 16 years before they'd pair up in the color reincarnation of Dragnet 1966. It's also significant in the script acknowledging the ugly possibilities of returning to post-WWII society (albeit without the impact of the vaguely similar theme of 1932's I Am A Fugitive Of a Chain Gain and WWI). With the talent involved I'd expected a noir classic... but Dark City solidly misses the mark. What's wrong? I can cite 3 things: The subplot involving grieving widow Viveca Lindfors is all wrong and slows the picture down to a crawl (and frankly it makes Chuck Heston look creepy in the pursuit of her--- without giving away why). The suspense of the mystery homicidally-inclined brother just isn't there. And I personally hated the lip sync'd intrusion of Lizbeth Scott's songs (I found myself saying "why weren't these whittled down in the editing room?"). Director William Dieterle's career was inexplicably on a slide by 1950 and his work here could best be described as yeoman-like. There's absolutely nothing wrong with any of the performances... it's just the script needed about 20 pages tossed.
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