IMDb > On Dangerous Ground (1951)
On Dangerous Ground
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On Dangerous Ground (1951) More at IMDbPro »

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On Dangerous Ground -- Trailer for this black and white classic


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Down 46% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
A.I. Bezzerides (screenplay)
A.I. Bezzerides (adaptation) ...
View company contact information for On Dangerous Ground on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 June 1952 (France) See more »
In One Strange Night she met both LOVE ... and MURDER!
Hard, withdrawn city cop Jim Wilson roughs up one too many suspects and is sent upstate to help investigate... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
"You get so you don't trust anybody" See more (69 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ida Lupino ... Mary Malden

Robert Ryan ... Jim Wilson

Ward Bond ... Walter Brent
Charles Kemper ... Pop Daly
Anthony Ross ... Pete Santos

Ed Begley ... Capt. Brawley

Ian Wolfe ... 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)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Roy Alexander ... Town Resident (uncredited)
Frank Arnold ... Man (uncredited)
Vince Barnett ... George (uncredited)
Leslie Bennett ... Newsboy (uncredited)
A.I. Bezzerides ... Gatos (uncredited)
Ted Birdsill ... Town Resident (uncredited)
Vernon Birdsill ... Town Resident (uncredited)
Eddie Borden ... Man (uncredited)
William Challee ... Thug (uncredited)

G. Pat Collins ... Sgt. Wendell (uncredited)
Jimmy Conlin ... Doc Hyman (uncredited)
Joe Devlin ... Bartender (uncredited)
Homer Dickenson ... Man (uncredited)
Don Dillaway ... Man (uncredited)
Jim Drum ... Stretcher-Bearer (uncredited)
Art Dupuis ... Man (uncredited)
Mary Dyger ... Possé Member (uncredited)
Budd Fine ... Man (uncredited)
Dee Garner ... Boy (uncredited)
Ronnie Garner ... Boy (uncredited)
Tommy Gosser ... Boy (uncredited)
Billy Hammond ... Fred (uncredited)
Clint Hardenbrook ... Possé Member (uncredited)
Al Hodgson ... Man Walking on Snowy Hill (uncredited)
Francis Jenkins ... Town Resident (uncredited)
Jay Jenkins ... Boy (uncredited)
Mike Lally ... Man (uncredited)
Kate Drain Lawson ... Woman (uncredited)
Ruth Lee ... Helen (uncredited)
Eddie Linke ... Possé Member (uncredited)
Al Murphy ... Man (uncredited)
William J. O'Brien ... Hotel Clerk (uncredited)
Nestor Paiva ... Bagganierri (uncredited)
Eugene Persson ... Boy (uncredited)
Stephen Roberts ... Charlie (uncredited)
Tracey Roberts ... Peggy Santos (uncredited)
Vera Stokes ... Mother (uncredited)

Nita Talbot ... Woman in Bar (uncredited)

Joan Taylor ... Hazel (uncredited)
Ken Terrell ... Crook (uncredited)
Bill Thompson ... Man Walking on Snowy Hill (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey ... Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
Andy Vaughan ... Town Resident (uncredited)
Harry Joel Weiss ... Boy (uncredited)
Don Yager ... Town Resident (uncredited)
Esther Zeitlin ... Woman (uncredited)

Directed by
Nicholas Ray 
Ida Lupino (uncredited)
Writing credits
A.I. Bezzerides (screenplay)

A.I. Bezzerides (adaptation) and
Nicholas Ray (adaptation)

Gerald Butler (novel "Mad with Much Heart")

Produced by
John Houseman .... producer
Sid Rogell .... executive producer
Original Music by
Bernard Herrmann 
Cinematography by
George E. Diskant (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Roland Gross 
Casting by
Dick Stockton (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Ralph Berger 
Albert S. D'Agostino 
Set Decoration by
Harley Miller 
Darrell Silvera 
Makeup Department
Mel Berns .... makeup artist
Larry Germain .... hair stylist
Josephine Sweeney .... hairdresser (uncredited)
Production Management
John Burch .... assistant production manager (uncredited)
Walter Daniels .... production manager (uncredited)
Lloyd Richards .... unit manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William Dorfman .... assistant director (uncredited)
Maxwell O. Henry .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Sydney M. Fogel .... props (uncredited)
Gene Gossert .... props (uncredited)
Johnny Peacock .... sketch artist (uncredited)
Sound Department
Phil Brigandi .... sound
Clem Portman .... sound
Harold M. McNiff .... sound (uncredited)
Cecil Shephard .... cableman (uncredited)
Jean L. Speak .... sound recordist: second unit (uncredited)
James Thompson .... boom operator (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Harold E. Stine .... special effects (as Harold Stine)
Jack Lannan .... special effects (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Landon Arnett .... assistant camera (uncredited)
S.H. Barton .... gaffer (uncredited)
Emmett Bergholz .... camera operator (uncredited)
E.T. Harris .... grip (uncredited)
George Hollister .... assistant camera (uncredited)
George Marquenie .... best boy (uncredited)
Ollie Sigurdson .... still photographer (uncredited)
Ralph Wildman .... grip (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Frederic Knudtson .... cutter (uncredited)
Music Department
C. Bakaleinikoff .... musical director
Virginia Majewski .... musician: viola d'amour
Victor Bay .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Manny Harmon .... orchestra manager (uncredited)
Bernard Herrmann .... conductor (uncredited)
Bernard Herrmann .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Mitchell Lurie .... musician: clarinet (uncredited)
Neely Plumb .... musician: clarinet (uncredited)
Max Rabinowitz .... musician: piano (uncredited)
Paul Sawtell .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Roy Webb .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Other crew
Richard Irving .... dialogue director (uncredited)
Stan Margulies .... publicist (uncredited)
Louis Shapiro .... location manager (uncredited)
Marvin Weldon .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
82 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Finland:K-16 | Iceland:16 | UK:A (1951) (cut) | USA:Approved (certificate #14508)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

After being completed, the film was shelved for two years, which was not uncommon in RKO under the control of Howard Hughes. Upon Hughes insistence, 10 minutes was cut out of the film, and a scene which originally was just before the ending, the assassination of Myrna, was moved to the ending of the first part of the film.See more »
Revealing mistakes: Toward the end of the film when Ward Bond is sleeping in the chair, Robert Ryan removes the shells from his shotgun. However, minutes later Bond fires his shotgun.See more »
Mary Malden:The city can be lonely too. Sometimes people who are never alone are the loneliest.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The Rules of Film Noir (2009) (TV)See more »
How Long Did I Dream?See more »


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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
"You get so you don't trust anybody", 8 August 2008
Author: ackstasis from Australia

Director Nicholas Ray really knew how to give film noir a unique edge. 'In a Lonely Place (1950),' which starred Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, was a brooding study of trust and paranoia, thematically similar in some ways to Billy Wilder's 'Sunset Blvd. (1950),' though more overt in its exploration of Hollywood's failings. Likewise, 'On Dangerous Ground (1952)' presented such an curious interpretation of noir that RKO wasn't sure what to do with it, and the film collected dust on a shelf for two years. Indeed, thematically, the film might even be considered a separate progression from the film noir style, a form of cinematic purification that serves to cleanse a decade of seedy, cynical decadence in the American film industry. The hard-edged squalor of inner-city crime gives way to a liberating expanse of trees and snow, revealing an incidence of crime, certainly, but also, and more importantly, a fresh and cathartic sense of nobility that is not to be found in the urban back-streets.

Robert Ryan is terrific as Jim Wilson, a city cop who's been on the Force for eleven years, after which he has become bitter, lonely and completely disillusioned. Whereas his colleagues, having found stability in their families, are able to leave their work behind at the end of every shift, Jim returns home each night seething with the rottenness of city life. In his futile efforts to scourge the streets of scum, he has become those whom he despises, and has a tendency to unexpectedly explode with violence. Nicholas Ray, who would later give a resounding voice to teenage angst in 'Rebel Without a Cause (1955),' here captures perfectly the pressure and frustration of Jim Wilson's occupation, and the horror when he suddenly realises what he has driven to become: "Why do you make me do it? You know you're gonna talk! I always make you punks talk!" This seedy urban nightmare has the grittiness equal to any film noir of the era, and Bernard Hermann's pounding score lends a fierce intensity.

Then – against all expectations – 'On Dangerous Ground' takes a dramatic narrative turn. Jim, in order to cool off, is assigned to a murder case in the snow-strewn countryside upstate. A young girl has been killed, and her father (Ward Bond) has pledged to murder the man responsible. Almost immediately, the pair strike out in pursuit of the accused perpetrator, and their frantic chase ends at the home of a lonely blind woman, Mary Malden (Ida Lupino, who also directed a few scenes after Ray fell ill). Jim's interactions with Mary inevitably lead him towards some sort of redemption, but I was struck most profoundly by their earlier conversations, particularly when Mary thanks Jim for his compassion in not showing any pity towards her. This moment illustrated so poignantly, I think, how far from humanity Jim has allowed himself to drift: his reaction to Mary's condition was not borne from any compassion or kindness, but rather from his lack of it; he long ago abandoned the ability to feel pity for another person.

Though 82 minutes to perhaps too brief a running time to present such a drastic character turn-around, the mid-film tonal shift is otherwise handled very well. George E. Diskant's claustrophobic camera-work, which made dynamic use of hand-held photography, becomes slower and more contemplative, and Herrmann's score similarly tones down into the mournful melody of Virginia Majewski's viola da gamba. Jim's tentative partnership with the murder victim's mutinous father allows him to acknowledge his duty as a police detective, providing an avenue through which he can evade his violent compulsions. The trust and kindness demonstrated by the blind Mary also permits him to recognise the overwhelming goodness of human beings, and even a certain element of sympathy to be found in the acts of a criminal. Though Nicholas Ray originally wished to end the film on more of a downbeat note, the studio enforced an optimistic ending. Nevertheless, I liked that 'On Dangerous Ground' acts as a counterpoint to the inescapable doom in most film-noirs; that a soul as disillusioned as Jim Wilson can ultimately uncover salvation is a reassuring thought in today's crazy world.

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