The Threat (1949) Poster

(1949)

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Effective "B" film that established Charles McGraw
arode3 January 2006
"The Threat" is an effective "B" film noir that is kind of a junior league "White Heat" with Charles McGraw starring as an escaped killer seeking vengeance on those who sent him up. The storyline is relatively clever and the threadbare production values are easily overlooked due to the earnest acting and fast pace.

McGraw was so evilly convincing as the heavy that RKO subsequently signed him to a seven-year contract and starred him in "Armored Car Robbery", "Roadblock" and "The Narrow Margin". When you consider that this picture was shot in under three weeks with a total budget of $221,000, it is quite an achievement for director Felix Feist.

One doesn't have to be 8 years old to appreciate economical film making that rises above the typical RKO "B" film sausage grinding of the time.
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Charles McGraw- Wonderful Character Actor
charlesstewart110 October 2006
I remember the first time I saw this movie- almost twenty years ago on AMC. Charles McGraw BLEW me away!!! He has been my favorite actor EVER SINCE!! He steals this movie from Michael O'Shea and with his steel blue eyes totally captivates every scene he is in. McGraw clearly IS the movie and in every scene demonstrates why he was and is considered to be one of the movies best villains. McGraw's "technique" lets us know that he was an actor to be reckoned with and that he was going to be around for a long time, which he was- another forty years as one of our better character actors who was given the lead in a few "B" movies and provided support in many "A" and "B" movies. To say nothing of the numerous television appearances he made. I can not envision too many actors taking this role and fully making it his own the way Mr.McGraw did. Even though his "look" left him for the most part typecast, he was one of our best character actors and "The Threat" bears the proof. Once you hear that voice, see those eyes and watch him do his stuff you can't take your eyes off him!! A Wonderful and Compelling Actor. Signed Mercedyz
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8/10
Charles McGraw Was The Look & Sound Of Film Noir
ccthemovieman-13 October 2007
Charles McGraw was one of the all-time best at playing tough guy roles in Hollywood. He was never anything but totally convincing in those roles, either. It has to be his distinctive gravel voice, along with his manly facial features and mannerisms, but also the fact he seemed to always play these kind of characters. All of this stamped him as a rough thug, no matter what side of the law he was on and the older he got, the more chiseled his face and rougher the voice. By 1950, he - along with big Sterling Hayden - were the two best males in the film noir genre, in my opinion. Both men were always interesting and both hit peaks in the very early '50s.

In this film, McGraw is the main criminal, "Red Kluger," a man who has just busted out of Folsom Prison. He immediately goes after the two guys most responsible for putting him behind bars, captures then and then goes on the lam with a stolen truck, a couple of other thugs and the kidnapped driver of the big truck.

At only 65 minutes, this moves by pretty fast, although there is a lull halfway through until things start to get tense as the cops get closer and closer. The "Inspector," by the way, is Robert Shayne, who played "Inspector Henderson" on the Superman TV show in the 1950s. The only difference was that he had a mustache in this movie.

One credibility problem: the truck driver, "Joe," could have escaped a few times, especially with his riding partner up front got out of the cab to talk to a cop! What a perfect chance to slip out his side and run for it...but he stays in the driver's seat (with nobody looking at him?) Oh, well; no film is perfect.

The climax was fine, offering some tense moments and a surprise finish regarding the hostages and crooks. Overall, a pretty solid film noir and one that, hopefully, will be available on DVD.
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One Hardboiled Cookie
dougdoepke29 June 2013
Except for the light-hearted beginning and end, this is one hard-boiled cookie of a movie, (my apology to gourmets). Kluger (McGraw) may take hostages for criminal purposes, but the screenplay takes no prisoners. It's smart, tough, and efficient, another minor gem from RKO's golden post-war period. And who better to act out the gritty script than the jut-jawed McGraw, a role that fits him like a glove. And when he barks out orders to his underlings, I had to remind myself I wasn't included. If there were B-movie Oscars, which there should have been, he would be richly deserving.

Anyhow, the plot manages to turn the familiar prison break fugitive into an exciting chase across California, replete with a number of clever touches and a few surprises from an unflinching camera. I also like Virginia Grey (Carol) who specialized in sad-eyed, soulful parts as she does here. Still, I'm not sure the movie did O'Shea's (Ray) career much good since he's definitely second fiddle to the all-dominating Mc Graw. Too bad the movie's so obscure, since it shows in spades the vigor of the B-movie at its purest level.
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8/10
Fine work by Feist and McGraw
abooboo-221 May 2000
It took about 10 minutes for me to get into the story, because I didn't recognize any of the actors at first and I wasn't sure who I was supposed to identify with; but this turned out to be a typically tough and snappy little crime caper (65 minutes long) from director Felix Feist.

Feist really knew how to use his small budgets wisely. He creates a tension-filled atmosphere, keeps things moving at a crisp pace, deftly establishes and stokes conflicts, and can usually be counted on for one "bravura" piece of camerawork in every film (here, it takes place at the climax in the desert shack). He was just a very sound and capable filmmaker.

What also seemed to stand out about his work was how single-mindedly sadistic and downright mean his bad guys were. Here, Charles McGraw plays an escaped convict whose thirst for revenge against the detective and D.A. who put him away, really fuels the film and keeps it on track. McGraw emerges as very controlled, coiled and menacingly methodical. It's a good part and a very fine performance - the guy just doesn't give an inch and you find yourself having to respect that.

Generally, when low budget crime movies fail it's because the bad guy is stupid or lets his guard down at a crucial moment - none of that here. McGraw is going out on a limb with his plan and he knows sooner or later that limb is probably going to snap, but the way he figures it it's well worth the risk.
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7/10
Charles McGraw's Best film
MCL11507 October 2007
In my opinion, Charles McGraw is probably the best and best known actor of the post war / film noir genre. Sometimes he was one of the good guys, and sometimes one of the bad. In "The Threat", he's the baddest. Michael O'Shea and Virginia Grey get top billing, but compared to McGraw they're hardly even in the film at all. McGraw is clearly the star of this movie, and he's absolutely terrific as a no nonsense, cold blooded killer. Those piercing eyes of his go right through you. Just about as scary a movie criminal as there ever was. Scary because criminals like this actually do exist, and a great little film like this brings the audience enough into the movie that you can't help but think "what if I were kidnapped by a homicidal lunatic like this?" At 65 minutes, "The Threat" is a very tight film noir type crime drama filled with tension, and Charles McGraw is the center of picture. Great film and a great under rated actor with Charles McGraw. I've been a fan of his for years, and thanks to a recent run on TCM, I finally got to see what has to be his best starring role.
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7/10
THE THREAT (Felix Feist, 1949) ***
Bunuel197628 September 2007
This little-known 'B' noir – tightly-paced and efficiently handled by journeyman Feist – provides Charles McGraw with one of his best roles as a vicious escaped criminal out to get the three people responsible for his conviction; clearly resourceful, he manages to kidnap all of them within the space of a few hours from his freedom (with the help of two other associates)! The film makes great use of confined spaces: in their attempt to escape detection on the way to crossing the border into Mexico, the gang exchanges their hide-out a number of times – a house, a moving van (conveniently concealing a police car inside it which, apart from carrying the hostages, allows McGraw to know the pursuing force's every move!) and finally a cabin in the desert.

As with other post-war examples of the genre, the violence is more pronounced – in particular the stunning sequence in which McGraw pins the hero to the floor (by stepping on the latter's outstretched arms) and breaks a chair over his face! The hero, however, is rather colorless and it's the young van driver (himself an unwilling captive) who offers the most resistance to McGraw and gang – though, in their final confrontation, the criminal is able to disarm him in the blink of an eye!

Ultimately, this proves to be yet another title which has so far been curiously overlooked for DVD release – indeed, it would make an ideal choice for the next instalment of Warners' much-anticipated "Film Noir Collection"...
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6/10
Good minor film noir...Charles McGraw excellent...
Doylenf1 October 2007
CHARLES McGRAW is not the first name you think of when it comes to actors who specialized in good film noirs during the '40s and '50s, but in THE THREAT he shows why he was one of the best in this genre.

McGraw is an ex-convict who kidnaps a D.A. (FRANK CONROY), a policeman (MICHAEL O'SHEA) and a singer (VIRGINIA GREY) to get even with them, his revenge motive. Pretty JULIE BISHOP is O'Shea's worried wife.

There's not a wasted moment of running time in the brisk one hour and six minute film. It starts with the prison break, proceeds with the kidnapping and the suspense remains taut during the police investigation and chase. It was obviously filmed on a low budget, but the B&W photography is crisp and all the performances are first rate. RALPH BYRD as a thug and VIRGINIA GREY as the captive girlfriend do well in good supporting roles.

It's McGraw who makes the strongest impression as a steely-eyed killer, especially during the tense closing scenes with the captives held at gunpoint. Well worth watching.
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6/10
Mean dude
blanche-26 July 2015
When vicious killer Arnold Kluger (Charles McGraw) and his pals escape from Folsom Prison, they go after the detective (Michael O'Shea) and the DA (Frank Conroy) who put Kluger in prison in the fist place.

The two, plus a woman Kluger thinks ratted him out are holed up with the men in a desert shack where Kluger and his pals are to be picked up by another confederate, Anthony.

Michael O'Shea plays a police officer who, with is wife, is awaiting the birth of their child. He's not supposed to be out on the street but to his wife's chagrin, he runs out when he learns of Kluger's escape, only to be captured by him. At first, Kluger makes him call in as if all is well.

Virginia Grey is the woman Kluger thinks betrayed her, and she spends most of the movie screaming and crying to let her leave. Meanwhile the officer and DA are tied up in the next room after being taken to this out of the way cabin. Not looking good.

Charles McGraw is dynamite in this film, incredibly mean, without one drop of human kindness. As someone on the board pointed out, people like this exist, making the story scarier. He's absolutely frightening because he's capable of anything.

If you're a baby boomer, you'll recognize the voice of Inspector Henderson from Superman right away, Robert Shayne as Police Inspector Murphy. The man worked into his nineties but is probably best remembered as Henderson. The film was made in 1949, and most if not all of these actors wound up in television.

Michael O'Shea was always likable, and he's no different here, playing a police detective who keeps his cool. Married to Virginia Mayo, the two did a lot of theater together, and after he retired he became a plainclothes CIA operative.

Virginia Grey was a good actress and a lovely one, though this role called for her to be hysterical a good part of the time.

This is a short film that packs a wallop - a real wallop. Very hard- hitting.
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7/10
Arnold Kluger Escaped From Folsom Prison Tonight…
Spikeopath22 March 2014
The Threat is directed by Felix E. Feist and written by Dick Irving Hyland and Hugh King. It stars Charles McGraw, Virginia Grey, Michael O'Shea, Julie Bishop. Music is by Paul Sawtell and cinematography by Harry J. Wild.

Maniac criminal Red Kluger escapes from jail and sets off to kidnap the three people he holds responsible for his incarceration.

Compact at just over an hour in run time, The Threat is all about Charles McGraw impressing on everyone just what a great portrayer of hard cases he would become. Once the escape and set up of plot has been formed, pic basically confines itself to one cramped location as Kluger and his two henchmen hold four people hostage at their hideout, the fourth person being an unfortunate truck driver who has got in the way. The air of menace is palpable, the atmosphere hot and sweaty, and via torture, violence and mind games it builds to tough old climax, having got there without fuss or filler.

Nothing memorable visually, and some of the screenplay involves characters doing daft things, but it's a gritty "B" noir well worth taking a look at. Especially for McGraw's performance. 7/10
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7/10
A score to settle
bkoganbing3 July 2015
It's curious that I happened to see The Threat now as we in my area of Western New York are now in the wake of the killing of one and the capture of a second fugitive who broke prison. It was reported that one of them was just like Charles McGraw, known to have a grudge against the people who sent him to prison. McGraw would have been better off had he kept running as he's not only a mean customer, but a very shrewd one.

McGraw busts out of the joint and he'll flee to Mexico, but first he's got a score to settle with detective Michael O'Shea and District Attorney Frank Conroy who put him in the joint. He captures both of them and also O'Shea's car equipped of course for police calls so he's keeping track of the manhunt. McGraw also takes his former girlfriend Virginia Grey by force because he's not sure if she didn't rat him out. And Grey can't convince him she didn't.

The Threat is one no frills and never let up exciting short film about a manhunt for a dangerous man. McGraw who played a lot of mean hoods was never meaner and threatening than in The Threat.

Robert Shayne also has a plum role as the police inspector coordinating the manhunt who doesn't know that O'Shea is a captive until almost the end. How he tips him off is something you have to see. Shayne is best remembered as Inspector Henderson on the Superman show and usually it was nothing more for him to do than take in the bad guys after Superman captures them. I'd like to think Shayne's role here was something that showed Henderson capable of real police work without Superman.

The Threat is really top notch Charles McGraw and a top notch noir thriller.
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8/10
The threat of a child named Dexter
AAdaSC14 April 2013
Charles McGraw (Kluger) is a psychopathetic bully who escapes from prison and has a meticulously planned route to an escape that includes kidnapping DA Frank Conroy (Barker) and detective Michael O'Shea (Williams) who were both involved in his arrest and who he has vowed to kill. He kidnaps these two with the help of Anthony Caruso (Nick) and Frank Richards (Lefty) and he also takes former girlfriend Virginia Grey (Carol) along for the ride as he suspects her of betraying him. An unwitting driver Don McGuire (Joe) joins the gang as McGraw leads this troupe to a pre-designated desert hideout to await his escape to Mexico.

The cast are all good in this short thriller. McGraw is ruthless. Never trust a bad guy. Even the more humorous moments of the film are charged with tension, eg, thug Caruso asking about the time and handing his watch over to McGraw only to have it smashed with the response "Now you don't have to worry about the time". Funny....but this guy McGraw makes it scary.

A nice surprise of a film.
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6/10
Nobody gets a get out of jail free card.
mark.waltz22 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A nasty criminal escapes from prison and immediately takes up with his old gang, kidnapping a key witness (who actually never blabbed), the detective who caught him, and the D.A. who prosecuted him. In the course of just over an hour, his violent mission for revenge takes him on a road trip where the excitement never lets up. There are several close calls for the criminals disguised as delivery truck drivers with the kidnapped victims in the hull, gagged inside a car. But the three victims have their own plan up their sleeve even though the female witness (Virginia Grey in one of her rare leads) seems to have divided loyalties.

While there have been many movies about prison breaks, a lot of them end up being predictable or going off on plot twists which are straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. This peaks with a stand-off between police at a train crossing and later at a gas station. It all culminates at an abandoned shack where the gangsters find themselves at the mercy of their own victims and one not yet caught gangster determined to get back in control. Charles McGraw is ruthless and seemingly unstoppable as the head of this gang of violent criminals, while Michael O'Shea is a tough yet law-abiding (and more importantly, honest) cop. It's Virginia Grey, however, who stands out, giving a thrilling performance as the less than savory female who may or may not have given key private testimony without taking the stand. She's come a long way since insulting Joan Crawford behind the perfume counter in "The Women"!
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7/10
If there's any shooting I'll be the one doing it!
sol-kay29 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** With convicted murderer Donald "Red" Kluger, Charles McGraw, busting out of Folson prison the lives of those involved with his capture and conviction Det. Ray Williams, Michael O'Shea, and D.A Baker McDonald, Frank Conroy, are in serious danger. Kluger swore that they'll pay for what they did to him and now he's to keep his promise. That's By kidnapping the two with the help of his fellow hoods Nick Damon & Lefty, Anthony Cruso & Frank Richards, and holding them as hostages in this rundown shack in the middle of the California Desert! Not only that Kluger kidnaps his former gun moll night club singer Ann Williams, Julie Bishop, who he feels ratted him out to the police as well as took off with the $100,000.00 in cash he hid in a bus locker in downtown L.A. Still on a roll Kluger hijacks a moving truck together with it's driver Joe Turner, Don McGuire, to make his getaway amid some dozen police and state trooper road blocks. This all within the first 15 minutes of the movie! What a busy guy this Kluger is!

Now in the middle of nowhere in the hot and dry California Desert the Kluger gang wait for pilot Tony Anzo (Ben Weldon), Ann's former boyfriend, to land pick up and fly them to safety across the border into Mexico. It's in fact Tony who can clear up this confusion in Kluger's mind if Ann really took the cash he had hidden away and ratted him out to the police! Which makes you wonder on which side, the police or Kluger gang, that she's on!

**SPOILERS** As you would have expected in that there's no honor among crooks in that it's in fact Kluuger and his gang who end up doing themselves in before the police show up. There's also Ann who's on Kluger's sh*t list and whom he treats like dirt during the entire movie who in the end is the one person who ends up blasting him with his own gun: The only one of the Kluger gang's guns that had live bullets in them.

P.S The John Garfield looking tough guy actor Michael O'Shea fit perfectly in the part as detective Ray Williams in him coming from a long line of police family members, all his five brothers ended up being cops, himself. Not only that in the 1960's O'Shea became an undercover US Government CIA Agent which showed that what you saw of him on screen was in fact the real McCoy or better yet real O'Shea!
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Okay B-movie
Wizard-827 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The premise of "The Threat" - an escaped criminal seeking revenge on the cop and the district attorney that sent him to jail - is an irresistible one. It's leanly made (less than seventy minutes in length), with no real unnecessary scenes. The acting is pretty good as well, and there are a few genuinely tense moments.

All the same, I thought the movie could have been better. There is one big part of the movie that could have been improved, and that is with the depiction of the cop and the district attorney. Once they are kidnapped, they are given almost NOTHING to do for the remainder of the picture. I was hoping for some kind of brewing psychological battle between them and the criminal who kidnapped them. The movie is still worth a look, but you'll see some great potential that simply wasn't realized.
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7/10
pretty good for a B film shortie !
ksf-29 December 2018
Charles McGraw is prisoner Red kluger, who is out to get the guys who put him away. He was in SO many big films over the years.... The Birds, Spartacus. His nemesis is Detective Williams, played by Michael O'Shea. Virginia Grey is in here as Red's girlfriend. Lots of bickering and squabbling. Hostage taking. Hiding out. Pretty good, for a shortie, at sixty-five minutes. Directed by Felix Feist...had started making shorts, then moved to full length films. Lots of sadness in his life story.. his (ex) wife died of suicide, and he died of cancer two months later.
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6/10
This flick deals with the threat to America posed by . . .
oscaralbert20 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
. . . the kind of people who would name a boy "Dexter." THE THREAT centers around a cop named "Ray" and his wife "Ann," the incipient wrong-doers in question. (Note that folks named "Wolfgang" or "Engelbert" NEVER give their kids handles such as "Hubert" or "Percival"--it's only clods with names such as "Dick, Jane, Jack, Jill, Ray or Ann" who imagine it would be "cute" to sentence a kid to stagger through life bearing a cross such as "Gawain" or "Lancelot.") Probably this sort of naming sadism reflects the depths of a lawman's thinking. He can probably see himself going out on lunch breaks in 17 years, telling the desk sergeant "Be sure and page me if you see anyone named 'Dexter' popping up on the police blotter while I'm out," secure in the knowledge that ANY Dexter can only be his whelp, and confident that he'll be able to "pull some strings" to get that son of his out of any possible jam. The "Dexter" I knew best growing up went by the nickname "Decky," but I think that's even worse!
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6/10
Carol fixes the grub, then she fixes Kluger
davidcarniglia12 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This is a fast-paced noir with a gritty, tense atmosphere, and a commanding performance by Charles McGraw as the escaped con Kluger. In fact, Kluger's character has a lot in common with some of the sci-fi/horror monsters of the era. He's a relentless beast, pouncing on anyone who tries to hinder his goal of leaving the country with a pile of stolen money. His character helps make The Threat interesting, but overshadows all of the other performances.

Kluger's strategy involves kidnapping the two law enforcement personnel (Michael O'Shea and Frank Conroy) who were mostly responsible for his incarceration. A revenge plot is used effectively in other crime dramas, but here it doesn't make a lot of sense. O'Shea's Ray and Conroy's McDonald are rather too easily abducted; they spend most of the rest of the movie in the background, along with a completely hapless truck driver (Don McGuire). The fact that the two cops come out on top has more to do with Carol's (Virginia Gray's) intervention than their ineffectual actions. Carol has some knowledge of the original caper, so it's reasonable that Kluger would keep pumping her for information.

Everything that Ray and 'Mac' (MacDonald) knows that could help Kluger he sweated out of them fairly quickly. They can't possibly help him anymore; Kluger never threatens their families, which would've added another dimension to the drama. So why doesn't he just kill the two guys? Since Kluger clearly doesn't even trust his own muscle guys, it might've worked better to have him just face off with them, with the money as the bone of contention. Once Ray and Mac subdue the two goons they have a shot at ambushing Kluger; but, strangely, Mac stays put, leaving Ray to take on Kluger by himself. Carol, for all of her hysterical scenes, is ultimately a better antagonist.

The main problem with the plot, though, is Joe's character. He's inexplicably passive. He has at least three decent chances to surprise Kluger with his hidden gun, but waits instead. When he actually does get the gun out he again hesitates, allowing Kluger to overwhelm him. Joe even has a chance to simply walk away, but gives that up too. It's more interesting watching Ray's wife Ann (Julie Bishop) agonize over his disappearance than to watch Ray and the other hostages.

A good device are the phony calls Ray makes to headquarters when he's under duress; those scenes add tension, as we wonder if the cops and Ann will see the incongruity in what he says versus what they know. It's sort of like the monster controlling a human who has fallen into its grasp. Another nice touch are the circling planes--Kluger is visibly shaken, he has to wonder if it's his accomplice Tony, or the police.

The solid revenge premise could've made The Threat an outstanding noir, but the plot suffered from using its characters awkwardly, and counting on the lead to carry the movie. I would've liked to have seen Carol, Lefty, and Nick more developed, with less Ray and Mac. And forget Joe. Overall, The Threat starts and ends well, but there's too many dead ends along the way for it to keep our suspension of disbelief intact. 6/10
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8/10
McGraw a Really Bad Guy
Hitchcoc11 November 2018
I agree with the people who have talked about the psychological part of this movie. Noir villains are often much more interesting than the heroes. To the modern viewer, however, the problem is the plot itself (I can't get away from it). There's all that effort to kidnap those guys, drag them into the desert, and sit and wait for some partner to show up in a plane. Also, the fact that the police are stupid enough to not think about their calls being received by the crooks on the radio. It's so far fetched. But it is entertaining and I understand it fits the genre.
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6/10
66 min. It is worth a watch .
robfollower11 November 2018
Has some violent scenes for 1949 . Homicidal criminal Charles McGraw does a good job acting . Not the best film noir . But at a run time of 66 min. It is worth a watch .
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Decent Thriller
Michael_Elliott27 February 2008
Threat, The (1949)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

A man (Charles McGraw) escapes from prison after swearing to seek vengeance on those he feels got him there in the first place. The guilty man kidnaps the detective and D.A. who landed him in prison with hopes of killing them slowly. I really enjoyed the story, the direction and the music score but the supporting performances are so incredibly dull that I couldn't wait for the film to be over. McGraw is very good in his role but his supporting cast doesn't offer any help so their story is never interesting nor did I ever care if they were killed or not. With a different cast this thing could have been a classic.
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6/10
A Preposterous Instance of Civilian Incompetence with a Handgun Warning: Spoilers
As a general rule, the only people who are allowed to be good with guns in a movie belong to one of three categories: (1) policemen and other law enforcement officials, as well as prosecuting attorneys; (2) criminals and immoral women; and (3) military personnel, including veterans. But civilians who own guns usually just get themselves killed. If the civilian does not buy the gun himself, but simply gains possession of it somehow, he is allowed to use the gun effectively. But if he buys the gun himself, he is doomed. In short, movies tend to support the position of gun-control advocates, who argue that civilians are more likely to hurt themselves by owning a handgun. Those, on the other hand, who believe that it is a good idea for civilians to own a gun, who support the idea of the armed citizen, will often be exasperated by the way civilians are portrayed in movies as being incompetent with guns that they own. But this movie is the absolute worst of them all in this regard.

Kluger, who was on death row in Folsom Prison, manages to escape. He had sworn revenge against the detective who arrested him and the prosecuting attorney who convicted him, and soon kidnaps them, along with Carol, the girlfriend of his partner Tony, because he suspects her of informing on him. Kluger and his two henchman, Nick and Lefty, pack up their captives and a lot of stuff, and put them in a moving van so they can drive to a place and meet up with Tony. That is where the civilian comes in. His name is Joe, and he owns the moving van, which he is forced to drive. And he owns a gun.

Joe is supposed to drive the van with Lefty sitting in the cab with him. Everyone else is hidden in the van. Just before Lefty gets in the cab, Joe lowers his visor and grabs his gun. He could easily shoot Lefty and then take off running, but he chickens out and puts the gun back. Later, they come upon a roadblock, where there are several cops looking for Kluger. One of the cops opens the door of the cab to talk to Joe. All Joe would have to do is dive out of the cab and let the cops take care of Lefty, but he just sits there instead. Never mind that Kluger, known to be a vicious killer, is not going to let him live once he is no longer useful, and so Joe has nothing to lose by making a break for it, he is apparently too timid to risk it.

When they stop at a filling station for gas, Joe retrieves his gun and hides it on his person while Lefty is dealing with a policeman. He should do something right then, but he doesn't. Eventually, they arrive at a cabin, where they wait for Tony. While everyone is asleep, Joe pulls out his gun. He should just start shooting, but he wakes everyone up instead. Oh well, at least he has the drop on them. He can get the detective and the prosecutor in the next room to take their guns away from the gangsters and all will be well. But Kluger starts walking toward Joe, talking to him in a soothing tone of voice, saying it was a mistake to pull out the gun. "Come on, give it here," Kluger says, as he gently reaches out his hand and takes the gun away from Joe without any resistance. "Now, isn't that better?" Kluger asks. Joe smiles and says, "Yeah." And then Kluger shoots him.

Joe gets the award for being the biggest loser civilian with a handgun in cinematic history. Once the audience has been taught the lesson that it is a mistake for a civilian to buy a gun and try to use it to defend himself, the rest is just routine. The only people left are those who movies allow are capable of using a gun, and so it is just a matter of time before one of them gets his hands on a gun and uses it competently. As it turns out, Carol, who is qualified to use a gun on account of her being a cheap gangster's moll, picks up Kluger's pistol and points it at him. This time Kluger knows he is in trouble, because she is not a spineless civilian like Joe, whom he can coax the gun away from. He begs for mercy, but she puts two slugs in him, and it's all over.
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6/10
Authentic filming locations in LA and Southern California - Average story line!
irish4424 July 1999
As is the case in hundreds of Hollywood films, "The Threat" was filmed on location throughout the Los Angeles and Southern California area. Cities like Barstow, Palm Springs and Riverside are mentioned constantly. The story climaxes in the ubiquitous desert hide-a-way.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is after escaped psycho killer "Red" Kluger, played brilliantly by veteran actor Charles McGraw. Inspector Murphy (Robert Shayne, known to many of us as Inspector Henderson of "Superman" fame) leads the manhunt. Average story line.
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6/10
Potboiler.
train46412 December 2003
As a kid I loved those Warner Bros. and RKO Pictures cops and robbers movies. In a way, I still do. Some are real classics, but many, like The Threat, were churned out for the likes of me -- age 8. If you're over 8 this one's a waste of time. I still like Michael O'Shea, though.
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