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Dark City (1950)
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Charlton Heston does a good tough guy with emotional baggage. It makes me wish he'd done more movies in the film noir mold. "Dark City" makes use of noir conventions, but its tone softens after an hour. And being pursued by a homicidal maniac is prosaic by film noir standards. It could be said that Danny is being pursued by his conscience, but that is even further from noir themes. Pop culture critic Carl Macek remarked that "Dark City is a vision of the noir world without the emphasis of the noir ethos." That about says it. It's a solid thriller that's intermittently noir. Heston is a strong presence. Lizabeth Scott gets to sing a lot but Fran is beneath her talents. Beautiful Viveca Lindfors plays a modestly-attired widow. And Jack Webb is always spot-on as a small-time creep. The print and sound on the 2010 Olive Films DVD are good. No subtitles or bonus features.
This "Dark City" is about crime lords in the 1940s, a card game, some lost money, a double cross, a dame and some other stuff. It doesn't have a great script. Heston was 25 when this film was released; it was his first major film. Far from being an ingenue or a beginner, he exhibits all the same electric charm and animal attraction that made him a leading man in films as varied as Ben-Hur, Airport 75, El Cid, Planet of the Apes, The Ten Commandments and Soylent Green for more than then next half-century.
Heston is aided here by some of the best character actors of the 1950s -- Harry Morgan and Jack Webb, who went on to stardom in television's "Dragnet" series -- as well as Ed Begley and Don DeFore. It isn't the greatest revenge movie ever made but Heston is dynamite, as always, as he rivets viewer attention in every scene. One of the best is the opening credit with Heston walking into the frame. Dynamite! Thanks for finally bringing this gem back to us!
At first Charlton Heston may seem out of place here as a gray character at the center of a film noir, but he carries the role admirably. Dean Jagger is the police captain that introduces himself as head of vice but for some reason gets involved in first the suicide of the guy the gamblers took, and then in the murder cases of the gamblers. It's very strange though that he keeps dragging Heston's character downtown just to tell him he's doomed to die at the violent hands of the rampaging murderer - and then seems to do nothing about it other than to taunt him. You'll see several actors playing against their normal type here including Jack Webb as one of the gamblers that is at first a bully full of bravado turned to quivering coward as the killer closes in, and Harry Morgan as an ex-soldier turned simple by something that happened in WWII that is never explained.
Only one thing is a bit annoying in this film - for some reason the makers of this film seem to think Lizabeth Scott's nightclub singing is some kind of treat for the audience.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As an example of early Noir, Dark City has several things going for it: an interesting story, good use of cinematography and lightning, and two talented leads--Heston and Scott. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kenneth M. Pizzi
Classic with Jack Webb, Harry Morgan and introducing Charlton Heston, love these old Noir flicks.
See also Appointment With Danger for more Jack Webb and Harry Morgan noir... Read more
Genre: Film Noir 1950
-The cast (the faces, the names, yeah, they are all there)
-Storyline (I love the Noir, "Who really should I be rooting... Read more
Meh... The two stars only because my favorite leading man Mr. Heston starred in it. I tired quickly of miss Scott's lip synching.. Plot not textured nor suspenseful... Read morePublished 7 months ago by K. Mountjoy
Odd, well written and acted movie, Lizbeth is not a bad girl in this one. She usually is.Published 8 months ago by maryam wade