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On Dangerous Ground (1951)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 3,438 users  
Reviews: 69 user | 32 critic

Hard, withdrawn city cop Jim Wilson roughs up one too many suspects and is sent upstate to help investigate the murder of a young girl in the winter countryside. There he meets Mary Malden,... See full summary »

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Mary Malden
...
Jim Wilson
...
Walter Brent
Charles Kemper ...
Pop Daly
Anthony Ross ...
Pete Santos
...
Capt. Brawley
...
Sheriff Carrey
Sumner Williams ...
Danny Malden
Gus Schilling ...
Lucky
Frank Ferguson ...
Willows
Cleo Moore ...
Myrna Bowers
Olive Carey ...
Mrs. Brent
Richard Irving ...
Bernie Tucker
Patricia Prest ...
Julie Brent (as Pat Prest)
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Storyline

Hard, withdrawn city cop Jim Wilson roughs up one too many suspects and is sent upstate to help investigate the murder of a young girl in the winter countryside. There he meets Mary Malden, whom he finds attractive and independent. However, Mary's brother is chief suspect in the killing. And Mary herself is blind. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In One Strange Night she met both LOVE ... and MURDER!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 June 1952 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Dark Highway  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lee J. Cobb, Albert Dekker and Howard Da Silva were all considered for the role eventually played by Ward Bond. See more »

Goofs

After Ward Bond knocks the lamp over, starting a fire, Ida Lupino brings a lantern from the kitchen and places it on the end table where the lamp had been. A few minutes later however, when she brings the tea tray, the table is on its side and Robert Ryan hurries to right it before she trips on it. See more »

Quotes

Jim Wilson: Why do you make me do it? You know you're gonna talk! I'm gonna make you talk! I always make you punks talk! Why do you do it? Why?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Music for the Movies: Bernard Herrmann (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Danceland Jive
(uncredited)
Music by Roy Webb and Gene Rose
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Big Thaw
9 May 2002 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

The Nicholas Ray-A.I. Bezzerides On Dangerous Ground is a modestly budgeted film that tries to be different, and succeeds. Tough, brutal city cop Robert Ryan is sent upstate to help solve a murder case, and also to be got rid of, since he seems to be on the verge of mental breakdown. Along the way he runs into a blind woman, the father of the murdered teen, and a few locals. This is the bare bones of the story, such as it is, which on the surface appears mundane. But writer Bezzerides and director Ray were up to other things, and the crime picture trappings of this film are deceptive. The movie is really about that most modern of issues, alienation, and more generally, anomie, the feeling of displacement, namelessness, uselessness, that so many people have in such a fast-paced and mechanized society as ours. Ryan's character is a solitary, apparently celibate cop, who loves no one, and doesn't even like his job. He has a sense of morality, which is maybe what keeps him going. It also, alas, gets him into hot water with his superiors when he punches out one too many suspects, which is the reason for his being sent upstate, to Siberia, as he puts it. Ida Lupino, the blind woman he falls for, is equally isolated, but more serene. Her intuition tells her that Ryan is far more sensitive than he seems (or even understands), and they become close (but not lovers). She represents his good side, the part of him he has repressed all these years. Ward Bond, as the vengeful father of the murder victim, is like a caricature of Ryan, and also skeptical of him as a "city cop", as he puts it.

There's much to recommend in this film. Bernard Hermann's music is excellent. Ray's handling of the chase scenes in the snow, and his evocation of a small rural community, is masterful. The movie seems a little too short to me, for what it's trying to do, and at times spreads itself too thin. It's at various points a crime film, a romance, a mystery, an action picture and a psychological study. The actors, Ryan in particular, are outstanding. No one could play a brooding loser like he could. His emotional outbursts early on feel almost psychotic. Later, mellowed out in the frozen north (irony of ironies!), his vulnerable side begins to emerge, and he becomes sympathetic to us, and eventually empathetic toward the woman. One senses his cluelessness about what's happening in him emotionally, as we, the audience, get it, and he doesn't. He's almost fragile trying to deal with tender feelings, especially since if he messes up or things go wrong he can't very well punch his way out of this one.


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