HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Nightwing
Shadow of the Hawk
Month of Single Frames, A
Last Moment of Clarity
Fukushima 50
Dreams on Fire
Sing as We Go!
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Dark City Dead Man's Hand
Year: 1950
Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Charlton Heston, Lizabeth Scott, Viveca Lindfors, Dean Jagger, Don DeFore, Jack Webb, Ed Begley, Harry Morgan, Walter Sande, Mark Keuning, Mike Mazurki
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Danny Haley (Charlton Heston) makes his money by helping to run a gambling den, but naturally this attracts interest from the police, as it does today when he is approaching the premises and notices the cops raiding the place; he takes shelter in the diner across the road until they have gone, then goes in to survey the damage. In spite of the raid, Danny is confident he can get back in business fairly soon and awaits the return of his associates, but money is always tighter than he would really like, and he's always on the lookout for a fresh opportunity - or a fresh face to fleece. His girlfriend is Fran Garland (Lizabeth Scott), a nightclub singer, and she might provide a prompt for another sucker to fall into his orbit...

Dark City, not to be confused with the Alex Proyas science fiction movie over forty years later, will always be known as Charlton Heston's debut as a leading man, though on this evidence the studio were seeking to place him in the mould of another new star, Burt Lancaster, or perhaps Kirk Douglas, and not the more rugged heroes he would customarily play for the rest of his career. In fact, by the end of this it's as if they were writing the script around Heston's burgeoning persona, for he begins as a heel and ends up as the character we would be more used to from him over subsequent movies, which at least renders the opening half hour interesting as he was essaying a more villainous part than you'd be accustomed to.

Danny is still an anti-hero at any rate, this being inflected by film noir's influence, but it didn't quite fit that template. For a start, Lizabeth Scott may have been the female lead, but she wasn't playing the femme fatale, there wasn't one, leaving her as something of a doormat when it came to the whims of Danny. Scott didn't have long to rein as a noir queen as the genre didn't last for enough time to be something she could build a solid career on, and when she had the chance to branch out she was hit by a scandal spreading rumours she was a lesbian, a no-no in the conservative nineteen-fifties, though ironically this did lend her popularity as a minor gay icon, whatever the truth to that hearsay. Here she was sold rather short, since there's a stretch in the middle where she disappears from the plot.

Whereupon Viveca Lindfors took over as the young widow Danny becomes interested in. Why was that? It was down to him feeling guilt over her late husband as he may have contributed to his suicide, committed when the man, Arthur Winant (Don DeFore), was pressured into gambling with a lot of someone else's money. For Danny and his partners, the corpulent, ulcer-afflicted Barney (Ed Begley) and grim, argumentative Augie (Jack Webb, playing a criminal before he was established as television's most famous police detective of this decade), this was just another scam, easy cash in a poker game of the sort they had pulled off many times before, but for Arthur it was a personal tragedy, so really the gang were culpable and we have the sense that they deserve everything that's coming to them.

That being a hulking "psychopath" of whom we only see his shovel-like hands with a distinctive ring on one finger: Sidney (Mike Mazurki, of course), the brother of Arthur out for revenge, and hanging up his victims to make it look as if they have killed themselves too. The cops, led by Dean Jagger, are aware this is not what it seems, but powerless to stop Sidney for some reason (he's not exactly the most anonymous of folks), so Danny takes it upon himself to prevent his own murder. This sounds like it should be a solid thriller, yet the further it goes on the more it runs out of steam, as if the filmmakers found their plot was not as substantial as they initially thought, and though there were plenty of interesting actors here, they were unable to bulk up the drama when it came across as so meandering and anaemic. Add in a bunch of timewasting songs for Scott to perform in her act, too many diversions when keeping things claustrophobically centered on the city would have been more beneficial to the tension, and the compensation was in Heston's nascent star power. Music by Franz Waxman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1800 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: