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Where Danger Lives / Tension (Film Noir Double Feature)

16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Where Danger Lives/Tension (DVD) (Multi-title)

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Despite a screenplay by Hitchcock collaborator Charles Bennett and direction by John Farrow (The Big Clock), Where Danger Lives (1950) is a weak film. Robert Mitchum plays a doctor who saves a would-be suicide, then falls for her without noticing she's crazy as a loon, and homicidal to boot. Soon they're on the run, sought by the law and at the mercy of every larcenous character between them and the Mexican border. Despite yeoman work by Mitchum and RKO shadowmaster Nicholas Musuraca, and the too-brief participation of Claude Rains, the film founders on the femme-fatale casting of Howard Hughes discovery Faith Domergue. A more memorably dodgy female complicates everybody's life in Tension (1950), the next-to-last Hollywood film for director John Berry before his blacklisting. This one's played by Audrey Totter--never a major star, but a delicious and definitive late-'40s dame. Her milquetoast husband, pharmacist Richard Basehart, sets up a second identity for himself under which to seek revenge for her numerous infidelities--till the new man he has become makes the acquaintance of neighbor Cyd Charisse. (No, Charisse does not dance, but those awesome legs are nevertheless put to creative use.) Eventually someone is dead, and cops Barry Sullivan and William Conrad enter the picture, contributing their own shades of gray to the noir palette. Another satisfying, little-known film ripe for discovery. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 31, 2007
  • Run Time: 171 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PKG7D4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,772 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Where Danger Lives / Tension (Film Noir Double Feature)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 18, 2008
Made largely to showcase Howard Hughes' latest inamoratas Faith Domergue, Where Danger Lives starts off a little slow and more than somewhat unintentionally amusing, laying on nice young doctor Robert Mitchum's nice guy credentials with a trowel (he even tells a bedtime story about Elmer the Elephant to a little girl in an iron lung). Things don't immediately improve once he meets Domergue's suicidal femme fatale, but once Claude Rains turns up for his one scene as her `father,' it starts getting better and better and heads straight for near-classic status as they find themselves on the run, Mitch nursing a surprisingly medically accurate serious concussion ("I may talk rationally but my decisions may not make much sense.") and Domergue manifesting some pretty unpleasant symptoms of her own ("Nobody pities me!"]). Of course, we know he must be having problems even before he takes that bump on the head since no-one in possession of a full set of marbles would pass over nurse Maureen O'Sullivan for Faith Domergue even if she doesn't take off her surgical mask to answer the phone - O'Sullivan may have been the director's wife but she's barely seen without it. As their bolt for the border goes increasingly badly, the eternally underrated John Farrow mirrors his condition with a more surreal set of characters and situations - not least a truly bizarre plot development during `Whiskers Week.' The great Nicolas Musuraca does his usual wonders with the black and white cinematography and Farrow throws in one of the longest of his uninterrupted single takes, a key seven-minute hotel room scene that's so fluid and cinematic despite consisting of only two people in a small, dingy room that you don't even notice there are no cuts.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Park on October 13, 2010
Having seen both films, the two-for-one dvd isn't the greatest (nor worst) deal imaginable, but if you are a noir fan (which i assume you are, having come this far) you must see "Tension". Yes, you will suffer through the other Robert Mitchum number on here, a somewhat routine girl-murders husband-pins-it-on-lover entry that doesn't really make your pulse race. But you will be rewarded for its banality with "Tension".
Nebbish pharmacist gets pushed around by his delightfully sleazy and manipulative blonde floozy wife who actually picks up tricks while sitting at the pharmacy soda pop counter (god, why don't they have those anymore?) Nebbish pharmacist goes bonkers, like anyone would, but pulls back just in time. Which is good, because somebody when on ahead and did his blast-off for him, leading to all sorts of whodunit complications. Thats' pretty much it, without giving away the story.
The fun in this movie is that everyone can relate to Everyman, Pushed Around and Plain Fed Up Pharmacist dude. The blonde floozy is so much fun to hate and amazingly brutal in her obvious distaste for her husband ('sure, you were cute in your uniform, we had some laughs, but....") Its a bit like a comic book- everyone is a bit black-and-white (no pun intended) but to amazing emotional effect. It works. Its trash, but it works. This would be a great beginners noir- it was for me, and i have since become a noir slut, finding any and every noir i can get my hands on.
Another note- the most fun thing about noirs is that they had to communicate paranoia, sleaze, sex and death while having the Hays Code hanging round their necks. Ergo, everything is somewhat veiled and implied, which makes it so much sleazier and grimmer somehow.
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"Where Danger Lives" and "Tension" were both released in 1950 with archetypal femme fatale scenarios. "Where Danger Lives" was made at RKO during Howard Hughes' tenure. It is a more expensive film, with A-list star Robert Mitchum and an upscale femme fatale, while "Tension" was made at MGM with very middle class characters and a middle budget.. "Where Danger Lives" also qualifies as a "fugitive couple" film and "Tension" has a "wrongly accused" subplot, so there are a lot of noir staples packed into these two movies. They are not the most outstanding film noir I've seen but both are strong, enjoyable films, and Faith Domergue's performance in "Where Danger Lives" is a highlight.

The danger in "Where Danger Lives" begins with a gesture of kindness. Dr. Jeff Cameron (Robert Mitchum) happens to be on duty at a hospital when a woman who has attempted suicide is brought in. The handsome doctor saves her life and she invites him to her home on the pretense that she owes him an explanation for giving a false name. Her real name is Margo Lannington (Faith Domergue). She's rich and glamorous and dolefully lonely. Jeff falls head over heels for her, in spite of having a rather more down-to-earth girlfriend at the hospital. But Margo says her father (Claude Rains) disapproves of the relationship, so Jeff pays him a visit to clearly state his intentions. And the couple end up on the run from the law.

Even before Margo's situation becomes clear, "Where Danger Lives" invites comparison with another RKO film in which Robert Mitchum played a man hoodwinked by a mentally unstable woman: "Angel Face", made 3 years later. Both Margo and Jeff are stronger, smarter characters than those in "Angel Face", and that makes this a better film.
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