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On Dangerous Ground (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 1952 (UK)
2:11 | Trailer
Rough city cop Jim Wilson is disciplined by his captain and is sent upstate, to a snowy mountain town, to help the local sheriff solve a murder case.


Nicholas Ray, Ida Lupino (uncredited)


A.I. Bezzerides (screen play), A.I. Bezzerides (based on an adaptation of the novel) | 2 more credits »





Complete credited cast:
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 Richard Irving ... Bernie Tucker
Patricia Prest Patricia Prest ... Julie Brent (as Pat Prest)


Hard, withdrawn city cop Jim Wilson roughs up one too many suspects and is sent upstate to help investigate the murder of a young girl in the winter countryside.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 {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


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


When Jim Wilson delivers Tucker to the police station and then walks away, shadows of people are cast on him (among them, someone wearing a hat), although in the next shot the street is totally empty. See more »


Mary Malden: Tell me, how is it to be a cop?
Jim Wilson: You get so you don't trust anybody.
Mary Malden: [who is blind] You're lucky. You don't have to trust anyone. I do. I have to trust everybody.
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Referenced in The Best of Film Noir (1999) See more »


Jumpin' Jive
Music by Roy Webb and Gene Rose
See more »

User Reviews

Poignant study of loneliness ,pain and redemption is a neglected masterpiece
26 October 2004 | by DrLeneraSee all my reviews

Ignored at the time of it's release and still criminally underrated, On Dangerous Ground is a masterpiece from director Nicholas Ray, and maybe his best film {yes, better than Rebel Without A Cause}, a powerful yet poignant study of loneliness, urban alienation and finally redemption. It's both tough and tender, both thrilling and thoughtful, both sad and uplifting. In fact, the film itself is comprised of two halves, and both are simply brilliantly handled.

The first half is classic hard boiled film noir. Set almost entirely at night, Robert Ryan's policeman patrols the streets, getting so sickened by the filth he deals with that he has become dehumanised. As he deals with the gangsters ,the tramps and the thieves, the film has an almost documentary style, but it's also an extremely powerful study of a man caught in limbo, perhaps not that many stages away from Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle.

By contrast, the second half takes place mainly in daylight and forgoes the forbidding city scapes for snowy countryside. Ray gives us two terrific outdoor chase sequences, but just as striking are the beautifully written and played scenes between Ryan and the blind Ida Lupino, this tentative almost-romance between two lonely souls being so incredibly poignant. The last reel is somewhat rushed, due partially to pre-release cutting, and maybe the happy ending is un realistic. However, the final embrace has a tremendous sense of release.

Ryan superbly portrays his character's sickness and gradual melting while the gorgeous Ida Lupino has never looked more vulnerable. Bernard Herrmann's score is one of his best ever, ranging from thrilling hunt music for the chase scenes to music of almost unbearable beauty for Lupino. The score alone is a work of art ,but so is this wonderfully compact {at around 80 mins!}and excellent film.

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Release Date:

1952 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Dark Highway See more »

Filming Locations:

Granby, Colorado, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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