Appointment with Danger (1950) Poster

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Entertaining crime story
tynesider9 February 2018
I enjoyed this little-known Alan Ladd picture. I liked the locations too, whether shot in Gary, Indiana or not, I don't know;

Incidentally, I thought the actor who played the cop putting out an All Points Bulletin looked like Jimmy Little from the Phil Silvers Show where he played Sergeant. Grover.
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APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER offers a stage for a short-statured Ladd to emulate a straight-up, gallant daredevil of a hero with pizazz and conviction
lasttimeisaw7 December 2017
An Alan Ladd vehicle, APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER ostensibly soups up its noir-ish template with the involvement of a virtuous nun, Sister Augustine (a guileless Phyllis Calvert), who becomes the sole witness of a foul play and whose own life is threatened henceforth. But, that précis could be misleading, what in fact is set in motion is a rote cops-and-robbers procedural, lead by the hard- boiled postal inspector Al Goddard (Ladd), infiltrating himself into a criminal clique conniving to operate a stick-up of one million dollars in transportation by the Postal Service.

Yes, the film is an explicit encomium of USA's Postal Service, and at first glance, this infotainment seems to spirit us way to a new territory, the lives of postal inspectors, the covert law enforcers whom the mass knows little of, but what ensues proves that the filmmakers have no intention to burrow deeper into that front, here we are in the well-trodden path, an all-too-smart Al, outwits the crooks in a slipshod heist, saddled with an even less plausible last-minute whim of press-ganging Sister Augustine into the fold to imperil our hero.

Contrary to its sub-standard action goings-on, what director Lewis Allen manages to hammer out is those alluring shots of nightly scenery, creating a taut and sinister vibe which chimes in with Film Noir's tenor. Also, at least this time, we are tantalized by a sinewy, half-naked male bod in a handball game than the usual distaff equivalent, ruling out a wimple-clad Sister Augustine, even the moll Dodie (Sterling, always a magnificent scene-stealer), intuitively knows not to meddle with lawbreakers' business and timely finds herself a fallback position.

Roundly eclipsed by its more influential and well-crafted peers, like John Huston's THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950) or Kubrick's THE KILLING (1956), APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER at least offers a stage for a short-statured Ladd to emulate a straight-up, gallant daredevil of a hero with pizazz and conviction, especially when he is able to outmaneuver the murderous thug Joe Regas (Jack Webb, casting every glint with menace and intensity) every time.

referential points: Lewis Allen's THE UNINVITED (1944, 6.9/10); John Huston's THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950, 7.9/10); Kubrick's THE KILLING (1956, 8.2/10).
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One of Ladd's best!
JohnHowardReid27 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Copyright 1 May 1951 by Paramount Pictures Corp. Released May 1951 (U.S.A.), May 1950 (U.K.), 30 November 1951 (Australia). 8,042 feet. 89 minutes. New York opening at the Paramount: 9 May 1951.

SYNOPSIS: Don't let anyone tell you that a postal inspector's job is a walk-over. In fact, according to this film, it's dangerous, adrenaline-charged work. Ladd is a tough post-office-detective investigating the murder of a fellow inspector in Gary, Indiana. The only witness is a frightened nun.

NOTES: Hollywood debut of top money-making British star, Phyllis Calvert.

FIRST VIEW COMMENT: This semi-documentary gains from filming on actual locations. The villains are attractive — they have the best lines and the best players to deliver them — but the scriptwriters have made some attempt to extend this out-of-the-rut characterization to the people on the right side of the law. The hero is a cynic who admits he doesn't like anyone, Paul Kelly gives the film's strongest performance in the well-rounded role of the gang leader. Lewis Allen is a master of action and location directing, but he is less at home in some of the dialogue encounters, particularly those with Ladd and the two girls. Jan Sterling gives an effective portrayal of the lazy, somewhat emotionless sub-heroine. The photography is masterful, perfectly capturing both mood and milieu, and production values are first-class.

SECOND VIEW COMMENT: Ladd is in fine form. The movie builds to a really suspenseful, tingling climax, thanks to a twisting script, driving direction, solid use of natural locales in Gary, Indiana of all places, and efforts of an excellent support cast. The relationship between the characters is much deeper than Hollywood's usual superficial approach. When I first saw the film I thought the introduction of the nun was a tiresome device, but it enables hero Ladd to have an affair with gangster's moll Jan Sterling which I previously didn't notice in my juvenile innocence. Fortunately Calvert's role isn't all that large as the religious scenes are the weakest in the film. Ladd grows on you. I liked his laconic performance better this time around and I was really pulling for him in the action spots. Stewart and Webb are also excellent.
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Has Its Moments, but Nothing Memorable
dougdoepke20 February 2016
A humorless postal inspector goes undercover to thwart a planned mail robbery and apprehend those who murdered a fellow inspector. In the process, he encounters: a sadistic gunsel, a blonde floozie, and a pious nun, among others.

The movie's a spotty docu-drama that dramatizes the role of a generally over-looked enforcement agency, namely the Department of Postal Inspection that protects our mails. There were a number of these docu-dramas from the late 40's and early 50's, largely in the style of The Naked City (1948). Generally they lauded law enforcement agencies such as Treasury, FBI, metropolitan police, and others. As movies, they had built-in appeal by dealing with crime in a more realistic way than usual, and also for their Cold War value as a first line of defense against presumed Soviet subversion. Some dealt more with departmental procedure, while others slipped into melodrama or noir, (T-Men, {1947}).

AwD relies more on melodrama than procedure. In fact, it's hard to discern much difference between it and standard police drama. One thing—it's certainly not noir—being filmed in flat, naturalistic style and without a morally ambiguous central character or other earmarks of that atmospheric genre. I agree with another reviewer that the term 'noir' is thrown around much too loosely.

Apparently, this was Alan Ladd's swan song with his home studio, Paramount. Despite his short stature and pretty boy good looks, the actor could indeed project a strong unsmiling presence. Here, he manages some of that commanding presence, but generally glides through the role in one-note, uninteresting fashion. Perhaps this is as much a fault of the screenplay as his or the director's. After all, his Inspector Goddard is supposed to be emotionally flat and unfeeling.

To me, the movie's best parts are a vicious Jack Webb, a supremely coy Jan Sterling, and an unvarnished look at Gary, Indiana's jagged skyline. Also, there's that great shot of Goddard's one punch "ko" of the surly Regas (Webb) on a handball court. It's a jolting slice of staging and the movie's best. Then there's that imaginative bit of business with the bronzed baby shoes, along with a number of snappy lines, especially the innuendo from the wanton blonde, Dodie (Sterling). Her role, I suspect, was added for sex appeal, since the character herself is inessential to the plot. Note too how every guy, good or bad, sports a spiffy suit and tie. It's like they paraded every day through Wardrobe, which they probably did. On a more negative note, I could have done without the goody-goody nun (Calvert), which is out of tune with the rest of the film, but definitely in tune with Cold War needs of the time. Such outside political influences are worth noting here, considering Hollywood's well-known fingers to shifting winds and how they often shape content.

All in all, the movie's a decent melodrama, but too spotty and loose to rank with better docu-dramas of the time. I'm just sorry the material didn't get a tighter screenplay, and perhaps a lead actor who was not a celebrity star and the compromises that go with that.
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Lesser known Ladd film worth a Look
gordonl5629 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers

Alan Ladd headlines this gritty and violent film-noir. Ladd plays a Postal Investigator out to catch the murderers of a fellow Investigator.

The killing is tied to a gang led by Paul Stewart, who is planning a million dollar robbery of a cash transfer. Ladd does the old crooked cop bit to worm his way into the gang. Also in the mix are Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, Stacy Harris, Phyllis Calvert and the always good, Jan Sterling.

Calvert plays a nun who witnessed crooks Morgan and Webb disposing of a body. Sterling is the girlfriend of gang leader, Paul Stewart. Webb is quite good here as the nut-bar who wants to kill damn near everyone. He has one scene where he pummels fellow crook, Morgan, to death with some bronze baby shoes.

Needless to say, Ladd's undercover bit soon hits more than a few bumps on the road. Anyways, it all ends in a blazing shootout with the nasty types on the wrong end of a lead exchange.

While not as well-known as THIS GUN FOR HIRE, THE BLUE DAHLIA or THE GLASS KEY, it is worth a look, now that it is finally out on DVD.
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Sgt. Joe Friday: Murdering Scum.
Robert J. Maxwell4 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Alan Ladd is a hard-boiled Postal Inspector sent to Gary, Indiana, voted the world's most beautiful vacation spot, to solve the mystery surrounding the murder of another postal inspector. The body's disposal by Friday and Gannon, I mean Jack Webb and Henry (Harry) Morgan, was observed by a nun, Phyllis Calvert. She's the only person who can identify one of the disposers and her life is in danger. Ladd fakes corruption and manages to join the gang responsible for the murder as they plan yet another million-dollar heist of the US Post Office.

It's one of those edgy stories in which Ladd's real identity and motives might be discovered at any time by the gang. And it DOES have its tense moments when some fast and covert move by Ladd saves his skin.

The endoskeleton is familiar enough from war-time spy movies, and as far as post-war gangster films are concerned it was probably done better in "Street With No Name." There's no nuance here. The bad guys are all bad. The good guys are good. Only Jan Sterling, as the moll of gang leader Paul Stewart, segues from bad to good and back without trouble. Not that she's on either side. She just doesn't care which.

The opening credits imitate the post-war docudramas. A shot of the Post Office Building in Washington, majestic music, a stentorian narrator gives us some statistics and then tells us this is "the biggest business in the world." Somebody must have told the writers that FBI stories were exhausted so let's do a post office one. It's not a bad flick in any way, not an insult to the taste buds, but it's rather routine, with a couple of exceptions.

One exception is the provision of panoramic shots of Gary's beautiful steel mills at a time when they were actually producing steel -- those I beams, those pillars, those cat walks, those smoke stacks, those coal cars loaded with ore, a glimpse of a fiery river of molten steel in the back projection.

Another exception is the writing. While hustling out this pot boiler, the writers have managed to come up with a couple of memorable lines and one or two recherché scenes. Ladd is a pretty cold fish, rude, abrasive. A pal tells him he doesn't know what a "love affair" is. Ladd snaps back, "Sure I do. A love affair is what goes on between a man and a .45 that doesn't jam." (Okay, it's not, "What is money? Just a piece of paper crawling with germs," but it's clever.) And it has resonance too. It's not just thrown in for effect. Because in a later scene, Ladd is trying to give the nun a .45 pistol and it jams during the demonstration. She turns the present down. "Don't forget, I have a guardian angel," she says. "So do I," and Ladd pats his pistol. "Only mine doesn't jam," she observes.

One more example. Ladd is stuck, bored to death, in Jan Sterling's apartment while trying to get some dish out of her. She insists on playing a record of what passes for a sultry blues number. "So that's 'Slow Bus to Memphis'", says Ladd as she weaves sinuously in front of him and he get up to dance. "Yes, can I give you a lift?" Ladd replies, "You already have," and waltzes her slowly toward the bed that's figured so prominently in the background. Fade.

Ladd was always closer to delivering a performance when he had few lines, as in "Shane." Here, he tries to act but his voice acquires a sing song quality as he throws the stress here and there, almost at random, throughout the sentence. At least he looks the part. Henry (Harry) Morgan -- or Harry (Henry) Morgan or whatever it is -- stutters and is a little slow on the uptake. Jack Webb is thin and alert, a kind of human ferret, and his thoughts seem to dart ahead of the situation he finds himself. Paul Stewart is always amiable, cynical, resigned. The climax had me lost, what with the speeding cars, the kidnapped nun, the final shoot out, but it's full of action.
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Police Seek Nun As Witness In Downtown Slaying!
Spikeopath22 February 2014
Appointment with Danger is directed by Lewis Allen and written by Richard L. Breen and Warren Duff. It stars Alan Ladd, Phyllis Calvert, Paul Stewart, Jan Sterling, Jack Webb, Stacy Harris and Harry Morgan. Music is by Victor Young and cinematography by John F. Seitz.

Al Goddard (Ladd) is a U.S. Postal Inspector sent to investigate the grim murder of one of his colleagues. There's a witness to locate and possibly protect, a nun, Sister Augustine (Calvert), and soon enough Al has to go undercover as a crook to infiltrate the gang responsible for the murder. Not only that, but they plan to steal one million dollars being transported by the U.S.P.S., clearly Al has a lot on his plate.

Alan Ladd's last film noir (though it barely qualifies as such) is good entertainment that relies on hardboiled speak more than it does action or mystery. A great opening involving the murder is kind of a false dawn, in that the mood and visual strengths on show here are rarely reproduced during rest of pic. However, that is a small complaint in truth because it's so much fun to be around Ladd's Al Goddard.

We quickly learn that he is basically a great cop but not much of a human being, since we know who did the murder from the off, we have to rely on Goddard's undercover operation for our suspense quota, which comes in spades. Goddard is constantly at threat of being exposed, he has to consistently think on his feet, have a quip or yarn to spin to deflect suspicion, so this keeps things spicy in the story.

The strand involving Calvert's nun is a weak one, it's clearly a narrative device to smooth out Goddard's rough edges, but it never really works and that the writers turn her into a dumb ass late in the play is annoying. Another irritant is that Sterling (wasted) as Paul Stewart's (good villain value as usual) moll really doesn't impact on proceedings, she wanders in and out of the film promising to be a femme fatale, but it never happens and after playing out as a weak red herring she exits with a whimper.

Some smart location work is on show, with the backdrop of pool halls and cheap hotels utilised to good effect by Allen and Seitz, and a couple of scenes really sock the jaw; literally in one case! But it never rises above being a routine cops and robbers based homage to the U.S.P.S. Inspectors. Thankfully Ladd is on form and delivers the best parts of the screenplay with a steely cold sharpness that positively tickles the fancy of noir lovers. 6.5/10
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not such a good picture
christopher-underwood16 January 2014
Extremely disappointing and although Alan Ladd performs well he alone cannot lift this very routine picture out of its mediocrity.

There is some decent location stuff with the railroad and finally a shoot out at the end but this is far more concerned at having its heart in the right place and promoting the mail service as a wonderful institution than in getting down and dirty as a thrilling movie.

Its a shame because the mix of gangsters and nuns could have been much more interesting and the spirited performance from Jan Sterling could have been put to much better use. Great title but not such a good picture.
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not a noir
lawrence smith27 January 2013
I am sick and tired of every kind of crime movie shot in the 30's, 40's, and 50's that is filmed in black and white being labeled a 'film noir'. This Alan Ladd vehicle is a typical example, one scene shot in a dark alley in the rain and it's a film noir. I don't think so.

It is, in fact a run of the mill heist movie with nothing to recommend it other than watching Alan Ladd (if you are a fan).

The plot is straight forward with no particular twists or turns to create any interest for the viewer.

The fact that it involves postal inspectors instead of one of the usual law enforcement agencies adds no interest, in fact it comes across as an advertisement for the US Postal Service

Jack Webb's performance was the only thing of any value in the movie.
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Uneven, yet still fairly thrilling
Patryk Czekaj20 November 2012
Appointment with Danger - Alan Ladd's last encounter with his beloved noir genre - is an erratic hit-and-miss showcase, which strikes as a picture both fairly suspenseful and too underdeveloped in its narrative structure. Though it has its pleasurable moments of ravishing intensity, Appointment with Danger is a rather forgettable flick that creates a disadvantage out of its overly routine approach to the subject.

The film focuses on Al Goddard (Alan Ladd), a special investigator for the US post office, who is called in to investigate a mysterious murder of his fellow co-worker. What starts off as a rather superficial intrigue with a lovely nun in the middle of the whole action, soon turns into a deadly intrigue concerning a group of greedy, handy thugs and a huge sum of money. In order to reveal their plan, Goddard poses as a witty crook who also wants to put his hands on the cash. While trying to infiltrate the gang and discover what the scheme is about, he communicates with the police and takes care of the nun, who is now in grave danger, as she's the only suspect in the aforementioned murder case. During the last, most decisive moments of the intrigue something goes wrong, and Goddard is forced to rely only on his own cunning. The movie concludes with an intense and climatic shootout in a quiet industrial district.

The most fascinating thing about this film is its cast. Apart from Alan Ladd as the protagonist, Lewis Allen cast Jack Webb and Harry Morgan as the ruthless murderers. The future stars of the TV series Dragnet bring a lot of joy to the cinephile's heart with their dark and nasty portrayals of two guileful schemers.

Overall, Appointment with Danger might not be film noir finest example, yet it still aspires to be a reasonably thrilling picture, which makes a good use of its stellar cast and moody cinematography. Though unsuccessful, it will please all the genre fans.
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Top-notch crime drama with a great cast
Paularoc16 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
As a Postal Inspector, Alan Ladd investigates the murder of a fellow agent in Gary Indiana. His first job is to find the nun who witnessed the thugs moving the dead agent's body. The nun, played by Phyllis Calvert, provides the clue that leads to the identity of one of the thugs. As most reviewers have noted, it was intriguing to see Harry Morgan and Jack Webb teamed together in pre-Draget roles. Much to my surprise Webb did a good job as the psychotic killer since I've never cared much for his acting although his Dragnet parody skit on the Johnny Carson show is one of the funniest routines on television that I have ever seen. Ladd as the hard and rather cold Inspector does his usual convincing job and the supporting cast is strong (Jan Sterling does an excellent job in a relatively small but integral role) but it is Calvert who stands out. She is the counterpoint to the Ladd character's cynicism. She has one of the most interesting lines in the movie when she tells the cynical Ladd: "People don't pray to avoid death, they pray so they won't be disappointed." This movie is a keeper.
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Get the right man for the assignment.
Michael O'Keefe21 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Probably a lesser known Film Noir classic. A hardboiled special investigator Al Goddard(Alan Ladd)is assigned to Gary, Indiana to take control of the investigation of a U.S. Postal Inspector's death...murder. The cold hearted Goddard seeks out the only witness to the crime: a young nun Sister Augustine(Phylis Calvert). Goddard tracks down identity of the bad guys and uncovers a plot to rob a U.S. Mail truck of over a million bucks. The two key culprits are played by none other than Jack Webb and Harry Morgan(known for their detective duo roles on Dragnet). Paul Stewart plays the leader and brains of the gang and seems always to have his moll Dodie(Jan Sterling)in close company. The stoic Ladd fills the bill as Goddard. Also in the cast: Stacy Harris, David Wolfe, Geraldine Wall and James Cornell.
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Postal Cop
bkoganbing10 April 2011
If we learn one thing about the US Post Office in Appointment With Danger is that it takes care of its own. When a postal inspector winds up a homicide victim, it's another postal inspector that does the investigation. I was surprised that the FBI wasn't called in as they usually are with crimes involving the US mail.

But their top cop in the person of Alan Ladd is called in when one of the inspectors is murdered. He's found dead in an alley in a small Indiana town. And there's a witness, a nun played by British import Phyllis Calvert who sees the victim being dumped and is given an excuse by one of the perpetrators that they're just helping a drunken pal. That guy is played by Harry Morgan and Calvert recognizes him from the mug books once Alan Ladd tracks her down. The crooks also know that Calvert's been talking to the police.

Ladd's dead colleague was working on foiling a planned heist of a mail truck that will be carrying a large sum of currency. When Morgan goes missing and later turns up dead, the lead goes cold. Ladd's only way to apprehend the crooks is to insinuate himself with them and catch them in the act of robbery.

Appointment With Danger was Alan Ladd's final noir film with Paramount and it's a good one. He's a most cynical fellow in this film and can't quite wrap his mind around Calvert's character.

The gang includes Paul Stewart as the brains and trigger happy gunman Jack Webb. Interesting to see future Dragnet partners Webb and Morgan together. But though she only has a few scenes the one you'll remember is Jan Sterling playing Stewart's moll. Sterling is Stewart's girl to be sure, but she likes a little fun on the side. Her scenes with Ladd are the best in the film and Jan has a very practical turn of mind and a knowledge of the law gained from hanging around unsavory types.

Appointment With Danger is definitely a must for Alan Ladd fans and folks who might become Alan Ladd fans after seeing this movie.
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Sure I know what love is - it's what goes on between a man and a .45 that won't jam.
Ben Larson5 March 2011
When I think of Alan Ladd, I usually think westerns like Shane, but he really did a wide variety of films. He wasn't a great actor, but reportedly one that was easy to work with; hence the large number of roles.

Here, he plays a postal detective that is trying to solve a murder. His prime witness is a nun (Phyllis Calvert who was nominated for a BAFTA Best Actress award for Crash of Silence). She really shines in the scenes she is in.

Also featured are Jack Webb and Harry Morgan, familiar to many as partners in Dragnet. In this film, they are on the other side of the law, but the familiar characteristics are there.

Also featured was the sexy Jan Sterling as the head man's moll. She would go on to get a Best Supporting Actress nomination and a Golden Globe for The High and the Mighty.

It was an interesting picture, and Ladd was superb.
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Going Postal takes on real meaning! A good heist film.
secondtake26 October 2010
Appointment with Danger (1951)

A good, run-of-the-mill crime story. It's more a heist film than a true noir, and it has a popular twist of featuring a government cop as the lead character. There are several FBI films like this (they start with a shot of government building and have a serious narrator or title card give the context), but this is the only one I know of about the U.S. Post Office police.

Alan Ladd is a solid actor, in urban crime films or in Westerns, but he's never quite inspiring or memorable, and so the movie is hampered from the start. On the other hand, there is a slew of interesting secondary characters, and some are real characters (like the ever-impressive Paul Stewart, who had his real start in "Citizen Kane"). We get to bomb through some great sets and locations (including the waterfront), and the photography by John Seitz (one of the best, see "Sunset Blvd." and "Double Indemnity") is great. The editing seemed a little sudden at times, almost as if this was shortened version (it wasn't, as far as anyone has noted), but you have to pay attention a couple times to follow what happens. In a way, I think they expect the audience to know the usual twists of this kind of plot, and if that helps explain its fast cutting, it also reveals a kind of formula behind it all.

See it? Yes, of course. It's great in particular ways.
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Appointment with Disappointment
BILLYBOY-1022 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Most of the gun-play happens at the very end of this pot boiler so that can't be blamed for the holes in the story leading up to the ho-hum finale. Post Office Inspector Alan Ladd plays his typical snarky, smarmy, role who infiltrates the bad guys in order for the good guys to win. A nun is thrown in for a dose of Godly morality and the ever wonderful Jan Sterling is here too as the wise cracking moll of the top bad guy--she protects Ladd in the end only to tell him she hopes they kill him. Oh well. Then there's one of the bad guys who finds out about Ladd and before he can squeal he disappears from the script. Oh well. Then there's no explanation why they killed the other Post Office cop in scene one. Oh well. Jack Webb is here with Henry Morgan and they appear together just like in Dragnet on TV and Webb's name is Joe too. Webb kills Morgan with a pair of bronzed baby shoes. Touching. Oh well. Webb gets plugged in the end in a gun struggle between Ladd and him. You know, the same old scene where the hero and bad guy struggle and then a shot is fired and you don't know who got plugged until one of them says something witty. Oh well. This movie tries. It fails, mostly because the story is full of holes just like the ones in the bad guy at the end when Ladd tells him he died a rich man. Oh well.
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"Sure I know what love is - it's what goes on between a man and a .45 that won't jam"
ackstasis18 August 2010
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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blanche-23 August 2007
Alan Ladd has an "Appointment with Danger" in this 1951 film also starring Phyllis Calvert, Jack Webb, Jan Sterling and Paul Stewart. Ladd is a postal inspector who goes undercover to stop a robbery after his partner is murdered and a nun (Calvert) can identify the man leaving the murder scene. It's up to Ladd and the police to see that she's protected while catching the robbers in the act.

This is a routine drama, with the handsome Ladd playing a cynical inspector with his usual straightforward delivery. But he seems to walk through this role laconically. The minute I saw Jack Webb and his "Dragnet" partner Henry Morgan together in their pre-TV series days, I wasn't looking for a scintillating script, figuring that one of Webb's cronies had something to do with it. He did. Webb played the criminal in this the way he played Joe Friday, showing us that in Webb's hands anyway, there's no difference what side of the law you're on. Henry Morgan, however, made a sleazy criminal.

The best performance comes from Phyllis Calvert, who is just right as the nun and contributes some spark to this film. Jan Sterling contributes some more spark, but her role is a throwaway.

"Dragnet" never did a thing for me, and once I see Webb (the exception being "Sunset Boulevard") I can't summon up much enthusiasm. If you're a "Dragnet" and/or Webb fan, you'll enjoy this a bit more than I did.
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"Dragnet" Heroes Go 'Postal'
ccthemovieman-131 March 2006
For someone who grew up in the Fifties watching Dragnet as a kid, viewing this film in the Nineties was strange: the cop-heroes of that TV show, Jack Webb and Harry Morgan, are now villains in this film!

Webb played the tougher of the two characters, by far, and was effective in that role. Meanwhile, Alan Ladd played his normal good guy-tough guy role. Another odd thing about this movie is that Ladd was an agent for the U.S. Post Office, an organization - at least back then before people went "postal" - one doesn't normally think need policemen.

But, as it was explained in the film, it was needed and the movie goes quickly from a corny-hokey start into a tough film noir. Phyllis Calvert adds a soft touch to the proceedings as a nun who humanizes Ladd, and helps him with the case.

In all, I'm making this sound perhaps more interesting than it was, because it was okay but nothing super. Still, I'd like to see it get a DVD treatment some day and I'd consider buying it.
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Excellent crime drama
Chris Gaskin7 March 2006
I just seen Appointment With Danger for the first time and quite enjoyed it.

A postal inspector is murdered in Gary, Indiana and fellow inspector, Al Goddard is sent over there to investigate this. He tries to track down a nun who witnessed the murder, which he does. He then joins the gang responsible and makes out he is a "bent" postal inspector.

This movie is shot well in black and white and well on location too, especially the railway scenes.

The cast includes the excellent Alan Ladd (Shane) as Goddard, Phyllis Calvert, Paul Stewart and Jan Sterling.

For some reason, Appointment With Danger doesn't seem to have been released on video or DVD, so you will have to rely on it coming on telly and tape it, which I did.

Rating: 3 and a half stars out of 5.
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The Casting makes the movie
ShtiggyBoomer15 February 2006
Anyone who has ever read the summary of "Appointment with Danger" in Leonard Maltin's movie guide knows what I'm going to write. Jack Webb and Harry Morgan are the Bad Guys!!! In fact, they weren't just ordinary bad guys. There was no honor among thieves; they actually turned against each other. Really! In later years, Jack Webb built an interesting reputation by casting against type. Remember "Emergency"? Bobby Troup was a singer-songwriter. Julie London, another singer, was Troup's wife at the time--and Jack Webb's ex. Robert Fuller specialized in Westerns. I wonder if by playing a heel in this one was his inspiration. With Jack's fondness for uniforms and authority, one would have expected HIM to play the postal inspector.
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A little-known film gris worth catching
elbasilio8 January 2006
I caught this by accident on Sky at a friend's place at 8 one Sunday morning, so it was clear what Sky thought of it. In fact it's a gripping & well-crafted 'film gris', making good, expressive use of studio sets (with occasional location montages) and showing Alan Ladd at his best - the archangel of understated cold menace. Closed-in tension, violence & intrigue are the generic elements - the heart of Hollywood crime movies - and Ladd needs to be respected as a screen actor, not mocked for not being very tall. His career was slipping, and the length & other casting (strong character actors, no stars) suggest a B movie but here he's as natural as Spencer Tracey in a laid-back tough guy role. Unusual too in that it shuts out any Cold War vibes & focuses on a public utility - the US Postal Service.
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An excellent and overlooked Film Noir treat
MartinHafer30 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of Alan Ladd's best film noir flicks. It's not as famous as The Blue Dahlia or This Gun For Hire, but is at least as good due to fantastic and well-delivered dialog and an interesting story.

I think one of the reasons I like it so much is because this movie has an early pairing of Harry Morgan and Jack Webb as thugs. And, to make it even better, Jack Webb beats Morgan to death with a bronzed baby shoe! Talk about sick irony!!! Another choice moment is during a handball game. All movie long, Ladd has been looking for his chance to punch the lights out of Webb but he can't as he has infiltrated the gang on behalf of good old Uncle Sam. During the game, however, tough guy Webb lets down his guard and he's playing away until instead of hitting the ball, Ladd cold-cocks him with a blow that looks like it, at the very least, caused major brain damage! So, give it a try--it's well worth it just to see Webb killing the man who will later be his partner on Dragnet!
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Sister acts.
dbdumonteil24 August 2003
This is a very routine film noir which features a very nice nun part.Her lines are very smart,and her notion of duty teaches the cop (Ladd) a thing or two(and maybe more).The other female part,the gangster's moll,well played by Jan Sterling,is pretty endearing too:she's primarily a lazy girl,who enjoys listening bebop records ,and she reckons that she will lose anyway:either she will go to jail or she will wear mink,but what's the point of wearing furs if you've got to hide from the world?

As for the male parts,they are okay but nothing extraordinary.The film begins with a well-deserved tribute to the post office.
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