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Relentless postal inspector Al Goddard is set to Gary, Indiana, when another officer is murdered. He must find the nun who witnessed the murder, then infiltrate the gang by convincing them he is a postal inspector gone bad. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Sure I know what love is - it's what goes on between a man and a .45 that won't jam"
The worst crime committed by 'Appointment with Danger (1951)' is mediocrity, so it's not all bad, just a little uninteresting. Alan Ladd everybody's favourite small-statured noir tough guy stars as Al Goddard, a U.S. Postal Detective who, for some reason, is assigned to investigate a murder: who needs real police when the post-office is sending their top man? Goddard eventually becomes embroiled in a high-stakes currency hijacking, masquerading as a corrupt cop who wants in on the action. Yet the film struggles to inject any real suspense or emotion into a by-the-numbers police procedural. Ladd strides through the role with an indifferent breeziness; even when captured by his enemies, there's never any sense that he's in danger, nor that the criminals might actually get away with it.
The film's cheerful introduction into the world of the U.S. Postal Service could just as well have been a paid-advertisement that preceded the film screening, and, if anything, undercut any semblance of suspense that 'Appointment with Danger' might later have produced. But there are good things to be said. Jack Webb gives the film's best performance as a rotten henchman, his cragged face tainted by an expression of contempt that he doesn't bother to conceal (he could later join with co-star Harry Morgan for the popular television series "Dragnet"). Phyliss Calvert is completely lovely as Sister Augustine, a nun who becomes witness to a murder, an event that instills some excitement into her otherwise peaceful and peaceable life. Sister Augustine's role is ostensibly to "soften" the cranky and pragmatic Detective Goddard as did the Amish people to Harrison Ford in 'Witness (1985)' but Ladd doesn't really afford his character any development.
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