7.2/10
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83 user 36 critic

The Dark Corner (1946)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 8 May 1946 (USA)
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Secretary tries to help her boss, who is framed for a murder.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Bernard Schoenfeld) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Kathleen Stewart
... Hardy Cathcart
... Stauffer aka Fred Foss
... Bradford Galt
... Anthony Jardine
... Mari Cathcart
... Police Lt. Frank Reeves
... Mrs. Kingsley
Eddie Heywood ... Eddie Heywood - Orchestra Leader
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Storyline

Private investigator Bradford Galt has moved to New York from San Fransisco after serving a jail term on account of his lawyer partner Tony Jardine. When he finds someone is tailing - and possibly trying to kill him, Galt believes Jardine is behind it. As he finds there is rather more to it, he is increasingly glad to have his attractive new secretary Kathleen around, for several reason. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Save your lipstick, girls, he plays for keeps.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 May 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Feind im Dunkel  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,000,000, 31 December 1946
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 10, 1947 with Lucille Ball and Mark Stevens reprising their film roles See more »

Goofs

When Kathleen Stewart (Lucille Ball) arrives at Galt's apartment and helps him straighten up a bit following Stauffer's attack on both, she places a lighted lamp back on a table. However when Stauffer left the apartment, it was completely dark. See more »

Quotes

Policeman in Galleries: Hey, Mac. Do you suppose anybody in his right mind ever buys a piece of junk like that?
Policeman in Galleries: Sure they do. That is "aht."
See more »

Connections

References The Thin Man (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

Heywood Blues
(uncredited)
Music by Eddie Heywood
Performed by Eddie Heywood and His Orchestra at the High Hat Club
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ball, Webb, Bendix and Stevens in satisfying - and smashing looking - noir
30 August 2003 | by See all my reviews

It's a loss to the noir cycle that Lucille Ball never got to exercise her widely underestimated acting (as opposed to comedic) skills as a femme fatale; she might have gained entry to the Bad Girls' Club. She did, however, lend her welcome presence to three film noir: Two Smart People, Lured, and, the first and best of them, The Dark Corner.

She plays the new, spunky receptionist to private eye Mark Stevens (and gets top billing; logically the star, Stevens comes only fourth in the titles). Once framed into a manslaughter charge in San Francisco, Stevens has come east to start over with a clean slate. But he's being measured for an even bigger frame. White-suited William Bendix is the cat's-paw in a plot to goad Stevens into murdering the old partner who set him up (Kurt Kreuger).

Kreuger, however, isn't even aware that Stevens is out of prison and in New York; he's too busy romancing the young wife (Cathy Downs) of rich art-gallery owner Clifton Webb (she sits around bored, listening to `his paintings crack with age'). Webb is the puppet-master behind the elaborate scheme to eliminate his younger, more virile rival. When Stevens comes to on the floor of his apartment with a poker in his hand and Kreuger bludgeoned to death next to him, he, with Ball's help, must race against his inevitable arrest to find the real killer.

The story flits between two Manhattans: The shabby cityscape of penny arcades under the El and flats that open up onto fire escapes, populated by Stevens, Ball and Bendix, and the haut monde of ritzy galleries and high-ceilinged, richly upholstered apartments inhabited by Clift, Downs and Kreuger. Spanning the gap is the unholy alliance between the coarse Bendix and the p***-elegant Webb, reprising his Bitter Old Queen number from Laura and The Razor's Edge (though again, as in Laura, we're asked to swallow his obsession with a beautiful...woman half his age).

While maintaining a deft balance, the plot weighs in as quite a brutal one (Webb's quick dispatch of Bendix proves quite startling). Despite this role and The Street With No Name, Stevens never quite became the noir icon - like Ladd or Bogart or Mitchum (or even like Powell or Ford or Ryan) he seemed destined for, but he's persuasive enough as a man strained to the limit by forces he can't fathom.

Henry Hathaway directed, but the black magic comes courtesy of cinematographer Joe MacDonald. He ably lighted a number of estimable noirs (Street With No Name, Call Northside 777, Pickup on South Street), but here his work surpasses itself. When Ball and Stevens embrace, he turns a two-shot into a four-shot by placing them in front of a fireplace mirror; we see her face in the foreground, his in reflection. In plot, writing and direction, The Dark Corner falls just short of the finest entries in the cycle. But in its strikingly composed photography, finely filigreed with shadow, it could be shown at a gala opening in Webb's high-priced gallery.


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