on January 3, 2001
This is the first film noir movie I ever watched and it hooked me on to the genre. It is a superb movie with it's assortment of characters that often populate the film noir genre. Lucille Ball was excellent as the trusting secretary! Another movie to see of Miss Ball's that displays her acting ability is the Big Street with Henry Fonda. Mark Stevens was an actor I had not heard of before. He was suprisingly very good in his role of Brad. Many people think this is the only film-noir done by William Bendix. It is not. He is also in The Big Steal with Robert Mitchum. Clifton Webb is always delightful and his presence in this movie makes you compare this and his other noir classic Laura. He plays the same kind of character - obbessed with a much younger woman when he himself is an aging prudish man. The plot itself is good with some good dialouge and all the actors are in top form! I am sixteen years old and am a BIG classic movie fan and really enjoyed this movie. I reccomend it to any age group.
on November 21, 2004
Why? Because of a script which constantly rivets one's attention, and with many a surprise along the way.
And because of the sterling performances, especially by a young and gorgeous Lucille Ball and the ever professional Clifton Webb, almost recreating his role of Waldo Lideker in the top-notch classic film, "Laura." His acting is superb in both films.
Cathy Downs, who usually did not play glamorous women, shines in her role of an unhappily married (to an older man) woman. Dressed in gorgous gowns, and with untypical deep brunette upsweeped hair, I barely recognized her in this fragile, true- to-form, performance.
Mark Stevens also fares well as the much beleaguered private detective trying to start a new life in the Big Apple. He has just the right amount of spunk and sincerity.
And let's not forget the legendary-by-now cast of character actors: William Bendix terrific as usual, Donald McBride in a brief scene, Reed Hadley, Constance Collier and even Ellen Corby in another brief scene.
Perhaps not as great or blockbusting as "The Maltese Falcon" or "Murder,My Sweet," this film has a truth of its own and Ms. Ball's performance is something to write home about!
on February 10, 2000
This often over-looked film noir is a near classic and although it dosn't quite make it to greatness, it does hold up very well against many other better known films in this fasinating genre.
The story centers around a down and out gumshoe (Mark Stevens) who after serving time for a crime that he had been framed for, finds himself being setup for murder by someone who seems bent on destroying his life. Along the way he is stalked by the menacing "White Suit" (William Bendix) and helped by his true blue secretary (Lucille Ball) who is the only one who believes his innocence.
Mark Stevens is excellent as the put-up-on detective who can't understand what is happening to him, and Lucille Ball is very much at home in her role as the love interest.
The "The Dark Corner" is by far one Lucille Ball's best films, it along with "Lured" are a rare look at the mostly untapped dramatic acting ability of an actress who sadly was over-looked as a major film star during Hollywood's golden age.
The production values in this movie are very good the sets, dialog, and lighting are all top-notch although I found the music a little heavy handed.
on December 14, 2005
I became a huge film noir fan after seeing "Laura", the first in the Fox Film Noir series. Since then I've picked up all the new releases in this series religiously. I haven't been disappointed a single time. This one really surprised me. I thought I'd have trouble seeing Lucille Ball as anybody but 'Lucy' but she surprised me. I loved the plot of this movie, I thought it was one of the best film noir plots I've seen. Private eye film noirs are my favorite, and I loved the way this starts as a mystery, then slowly reveals itself as it progresses. I know it's not considered a great film noir, but I thought it was great. Some movies, no matter what other people thought of it, hit you just right. This one did.
on August 3, 1999
The Dark Corner is among the best of the murder mysteries produced by Hollywood. It's little known except in "Noir" circles. The rest of the movie "buffs" don't know what they're missing. It is "Noir". It's also well cast, well paced, full of surprises. It's also a good production; the sets are rich & lush, or dingy or spare or gritty as appropriate. Great dialogue. Then there's the music... this is a real treat. It's woven through the story; not just supporting music but also wafting in and out of windows as a part of the tapestry of the city setting. This is a movie of terrific texture. Don't miss it.
on January 8, 2006
This review is for the 2005 Twentieth Century Fox DVD.
Mark Stevens stars as Bradford Galt, a private detective who just moved from San Francisco to New York to start a new life after being convicted (wrongfully by his account) and paroled of vehicular manslaughter. Galt claims he was setup by his sleezy business partner, a womanizing attorney named Anthony Jardine (Kurt Kreuger) who also happens to be living in New York right now. Shortly after starting his new detective business, Galt decides to take his newly hired secretary, Kathleen (Lucille Ball), out on the town and notices that they are being tailed by a man in a white suit (William Bendix). Galt corners him and roughs him up a little so that he can find out why he's being spied on. This stalker doesn't tell Galt hardly anything, but from his wallet Galt finds out his name is Fred Foss. The truth, unknown to Galt, is that this Foss character has been hired by Hardy Cathcart (Clifton Webb) as a thug for a devious murder plot that is designed to frame Galt. The murder goes off as designed and Galt is suddenly the patsy. This sets up the rest of the film where Galt and Kathleen put their minds together to figure out who is behind this diabolical conspiracy.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film for many reasons. First, the murder plan is very slick and well thought out. In fact, the scheme is so good, the two main characters of the movie really have hardly anything to go on. Furthermore, since there is so little to go on, it slightly weakens the final climax of the movie. The second reason this film is impressive is that Clifton Webb steals the show in his role as a refined, high society art dealer with a beautiful, and relatively young trophy wife, who at the same time is a ruthless, cold and calculating avenger. The Hardy Cathcart character is a complex person to watch since he is masterminding a cold-blooded murder, yet at the same time he's a somewhat sympathetic victim of an unfaithful wife. Another thing I enjoyed about this film was the music and location shots used for the movie. There's a nice segment with jazz pianist Eddy Heyward.
Another intriguing feature of this film is that Lucille Ball plays a major role as a loyal and virtuous companion to the Mark Stevens character. Her performance is very serious and nothing like her TV comedy roles as "Lucy". It was interesting to find out in the commentary that she was loaned out by MGM for this part, strongly against her wishes, and even had a nervous breakdown midway through the shooting of the picture. None of this emotional trauma seems noticable in this film.
Even though there a few minor weaknesses in the story, such as hiding a body under a bed for several days and hoping a cleaning lady wouldn't find it and or not really explaining how Cathcart knew to use Galt as the perfect patsy, the strengths of the plot and characters heavily outweighed these minor problems and I found the film highly entertaining.
The DVD quality wasn't quite up to snuff. Unlike the rest of the DVD from the Fox Noir series, this picture didn't seem to have that crisp, digitally restored look. But overall, the visual presentation was free of major problems and the sound was adequate. The bonuses included trailers of the movie and six other Fox noir films plus optional real-time commentary by authors James Ursini and Alain Silver.
DVD Quality: B
on February 2, 2006
"Dark Corner" is not up to the level of "Kiss of Death", "Laura", or "He Walked By Night" considering its excellent cast. It remains a decent film with a likeable lower profile lead in Mark Stevens. There's no way for me to ever accept Lucille Ball as the slightest bit sexy. She's Lucy, however she does do her part successfully to move the script along. She's really not asked to be a sexy p.i. secretary or a femme fatale, so, for me, she works well as a Gal Friday. I've said this in other reviews....William Bendix never gives a poor performance.
"The Dark Corner" was released in 1946 as the film noir movement was approaching its peak. This is hard-core film noir with chiaroscuro lighting and fatalistic themes expressed through existential alienation. It is based on a short story by Leo Rosten that was published in "Good Housekeeping" magazine. Bradford Galt (Mark Stevens) has established himself as a private investigator in New York after spending 2 years in prison for manslaughter. He has hired a friendly, loyal secretary, Kathleen (Lucille Ball), and opened his doors to clients. But Galt is being followed by a man in a white suit (William Bendix). When Galt confronts the man, he caves in to a beating and spills the name of his client. The White Suit says that Anthony Jardine (Kurt Krueger), Galt's former business partner, ordered the tail. Jardine was the man who framed Galt for manslaughter. Jardine denies knowing anything about the man in the White Suit, but he is unwittingly mixed up in Galt's problem. Jardine's affair with Mari (Cathy Down), the young wife of wealthy art dealer Hardy Cathcart (Clifton Webb), is more trouble than he knows.
Bradford Galt epitomizes the film noir protagonist. He is introverted, laconic, fatalistic, paranoid, and unable to shake his past. He was locked in prison for 2 years through no fault of his own. Then he was freed into a world of amoral characters, from street thugs to erudite aristocrats, who do whatever it takes to advance their own agendas. No matter how smart he plays it, Galt has no more control of his fate than he did in prison. He sees it coming: "I got a feeling something is closing in on me. I don't know what it is." And when doom shows itself: "I feel all dead inside. I'm backed up in a dark corner. And I don't know who's hitting me." Mark Stevens has a classic deadpan delivery, but, unlike some noir protagonists, the strain shows in more than just his brow. Galt gets pretty nerve-racked. He's a steely guy, but he appreciates his smitten secretary Kathleen's optimism, practicality, and industriousness. She's a no-nonsense gal, one of film noir's many helper-heroines whose level head and objectivity bolster the persecuted protagonists.
Clifton Webb plays the same role here that he did in 1944's "Laura": a refined older man whose obsessive love for a young beautiful woman -or for her image- overcomes all reason and compels him to do anything it takes to keep her. It's too bad his lines aren't as sharp as in "Laura". But no one played this role better than Clifton Webb, so I don't suppose there is any reason he shouldn't reprise it. Fans of 1940s cinema will recognize the name of Reed Hadley in the credits. Hadley's unforgettable voice delivered the stentorian narrations on several docudramas in the 1940s. We get to see his face in "The Dark Corner". He plays police Lieutenant Reeves, who periodically checks up on ex-con Bradford Galt. I don't know why Hardy Cathcart didn't simply pay Jardine to abandon his interest in Mari. And I don't know how Cathcart would know that Jardine framed Galt. The glaring illogic in Carthcart's motivation puzzled me. But Bradford Galt's predicament is deliciously cynical, entertaining, archetypal film noir.
The DVD (20th Century Fox 2006): There is a theatrical trailer (2 ½ min) and a worthwhile audio commentary by film noir historians Alain Silver and James Ursini. The commentary is nearly constant and provides technical details, background on Mark Stevens' career, analysis of the Galt and Cathcart characters and the relationship between Kathleen and Galt, comments on merging the footage shot on the studio lot with the 2nd unit footage shot on location, the chiaroscuro lighting, contrast between lavish production design for Cathcart's world and the grittiness of Galt's world, plot, and themes. Subtitles are available for the film in English and Spanish.
on August 25, 2000
I've seen this classic a dozen times now and I won't say I never tire of it at times, but this is a great example of 40's film noir. Who would have thought that an unknown like Mark Stevens, paired with LUCY, of all people, would turn out a thrilling drama like this! William Bendix plays the perfect heavy, and Clifton Webb is here too! Don't miss this one.
on March 22, 2006
Based on this performance Lucille Ball could have succeeded on the silver screen without comedy. Here she rivals Gene Tierney, Yvonne DeCarlo or any of the beautiful actresses of the 1940's while playing a shamus' new secretary who prefers matrimony over becoming a mistress. Competing with the instant physical attraction is an abundance of deception as conspirators frame and mame to tame the shamus who repeatedly cautions his devoted heartthrob to distance herself. The audience is pleased to uncover the source of the intrigue through the eyes of a loyal Lucille Ball.
Movie quote: "One thing led to another, and he led with his right."