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, a pretty decent 1950 film noir, is fairly enjoyable, at times excellent, and might have been a minor classic had the dreadul romantic sequences, plus songs, not pulled it down a couple of notches. Charlton Heston is a gambler who, with his friends Ed Begley and Jack Webb, play hardball poker with a hapless out of towner who signs over a check that doesn't belong to him to the gamblers and shortly thereafter hangs himself. Problem: the dead man's brother is a psycho who decides to track down the card sharks and kill them one by one. Heston is good though not wildly convincing as as the youngest and shrewdest of the gamblers, Lizabeth Scott is as enigmatic, mannish and unappealing as usual, and Viveca Lindfors is fine as the dead guy's widow, with whom Heston (inevitably) falls in love. The film was directed by William Dieterle, whose career was in inexplicable decline at this time, and he does a yeoman job. Reasonably well-paced and none too imaginative, the film gives good value for the dollar and ends satisfactorily. It's not too atmospheric,the photography is adequate and no more. Dark City is a decent example of a late studio film noir; it has neither the moody, murky, artificial qualities of the forties noirs nor the comparative realism and occasional outlandishness of the fifties noirs. As such, it is an interesting, transitional film.
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