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On Dangerous Ground

4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Haunting Nicholas Ray film noir starring Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond, Charles Kemper, Anthony Ross
  • Directors: Nicholas Ray
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Movies Unlimited
  • DVD Release Date: June 30, 2011
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H0HF92
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,242 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "On Dangerous Ground" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on August 15, 2006
Format: DVD
While I certainly don't claim to be an expert on film making as the first reviewer apparently is, I do know what I like, and I really like On Dangerous Ground.

First, I like the storyline. A police story like this couldn't happen today. A rogue officer who beat information out of suspects, even those who deserved a beating or worse, would be quickly pilloried in the press and most likely fired and charged with some offense. In this film, Robert Ryan's character was merely sent upstate to help in a rural murder case while the public uproar over his brutality subsided. But the film is not just about the mean streets and police brutality, it is about a man who discovers and comes to terms with his real self and in the end is redeemed by love.

Secondly, I like the film-makers technique. The city streets are ever wet and grimy, while the rural mountainous area to which Ryan is sent is unrelentingly cold and bleak. The picture painted of a cold world is one that carries on throughout the film. One of the few spots of warmth is in the house where the blind Ida Lupino lives with her deranged brother.

Next, I like the mostly on-location shoots. Though the upstate "Siberia" to which Ryan's character was sent is putatively in New York, it was actually filmed mostly on location in Colorado lending an air of rural authenticity to the film it would otherwise not have. The locale, though bleak and cold, has its own majestic natural grandeur. Anyway, it LOOKS like Colorado (or California) and not New York, so until I read more about the film, I thought that Ryan was an LA cop rather than with the NYPD.

Lastly, the acting is first-rate. Ryan's transformation is spell-binding, and Lupino's role performed with aplomb.
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Format: VHS Tape
On Dangerous Ground was an esoteric masterpicece, which Nicholas Ray and A.I. Bezzerides adapted from the British novel, Mad With Much Heart. Robert Ryan may have given one of his subtlest portrayals in the film, which was short on dialogue, high on visual expression, and augmented by Bernard Herrmann's dramatic score (he later stated that this was his favorite personal composition). As Detective Jim Wilson, Ryan's character was a noir type with which he was familiar, a man so tormented by what he sees in the line of duty that he is driven to commut brutal acts. Wilson's role delineates the conflict of the story, that of a man turned rancorous and cynical from dealing with the dregs of society. He has become a loner, an essentially good man gone sour, and though his conscience bothers him, he is trapped. Stooping to the level of those he detests, he has incorporated their self-destructiveness into his own actions. One scene, with the blonde, vampish Myrna (Cleo Moore), indicates the extent of his frustrations, as masochism and sexuality are tied together. As Myrna shows Wilson the bruise her boyfriend recently gave her, she directs his hand, holding an unlit cigarette, into her mouth. The music in the background synchronizes with a shot of Wilson turning toward Myrna, who says, "You'll squeeze it out of me with those big strong arms, won't you?" He softly replies, "That's right, sister." The next fade-in shows Wilson slowly descending the dark staircase of her building in deep thought, leaving one to ponder whether he has left Myrna safe or sorry. Another spare, yet graphic, scene depicting Wilson's violent impulses occurs in an eerie film noir setting, appropriately named the Harbor Hotel, a seedy tenement on a one-way street.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
This terrific 1950 film follows the descent and redemption of a big city police detective (Robert Ryan), alienated and emotionally isolated by the corrosive nature of his work and sent "upstate" by his boss (Ed Begley) to help the locals track down a killer. Upstate turns out to be Colorado, where much of the film was shot, knee deep in snow. There he teams up with the enraged father of the victim (Ward Bond), armed and determined to take the law into his own hands. And he also befriends a blind woman (Ida Lupino), who turns out to be the sister of the hunted man.

Removed from the dark, mean streets of the city and the morally compromised women that his work brings him in contact with, our (anti)hero discovers another world that calls to his higher instincts, both as a cop and as a man. In true Hays Code fashion, the cynicism characteristic of the hard-boiled crime fiction that gave birth to film noir is transformed in the end by the love a decent woman.

John Houseman produced this well-made film and Nicholas Ray directed. The sun-swept exteriors of wintertime Colorado are a visually striking contrast to the stylized urban shadow world of dark streets and low-rent hotel rooms. Camera work is inventive, and the Bernard Hermann score is sweeping and pulse quickening. The DVD has an informative scene-by-scene commentary that highlights the film's cinematic achievements while exploring its relationship to the genre of film noir and its place in the careers of the filmmaker and the cast.
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