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Dark City (1950)

4.0 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

An unseen killer stalks a gambler and his cronies after a man they fleece at poker hangs himself.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Charlton Heston, Lizabeth Scott, Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, Dean Jagger
  • Directors: William Dieterle
  • Producers: Hal Wallis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, 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
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003J216KE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,265 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dark City (1950)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald H. Stewart on June 8, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Dark City is Charlton Heston's first film. He plays the role of Danny, an overly determined revenger, who spends the film tracking down the killer of the 4 members of his poker game gone bad, one by one. Lizabeth Scott plays Fran Garland, Danny's under appreciated singer at the local Nightclub which Danny frequents. She delivers 5, yes 5 songs, one of which is the best rendition of That Old Black Magic available. This is one of Lizabeth Scott's best films - even though she does not have a gun in her purse!!. A fine supporting cast of Paramount Contract Players of that era help move things along-Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, Don Defore, Ed Begley, Dean Jagger, Mike Masurki, and of all people, Vivica Lindfors. Aside from being a Charlton Heston film premier, this is a MUST for any Lizabeth Scott fan.
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Format: DVD
"Dark City" was Charlton Heston's first Hollywood film, and it's easy to see why he became a star. Heston projects a strong persona as Danny Haley, an Ivy-leaguer and war hero without the status those things might imply. Danny co-owns a bookie joint with older, gruffer Barney (Ed Begley). One evening, when Danny visits his girlfriend Fran (Lizabeth Scott) in the downscale club where she sings, he meets Arthur Winant (Don DeFore), a friendly athletic director in town on business. Arthur hangs himself after losing his company's money in a poker game to Danny's weasely associate Augie (Jack Webb). Then Barney is murdered. Danny, Augie, and police Captain Garvey (Dean Jagger) suspect that someone is seeking revenge for Arthur's death, and Danny and Augie will be the next targets.

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.
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Format: DVD
I am very pleased to see "Dark City" finally made it to DVD via Amazon. I haven't seen this film in some years. The last recall I had of it was when that other Dark City was released a few years ago, the insipid mystery about aliens chasing people around on an imaginary set.

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!
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Format: DVD
... as this film that starts out rather slow becomes a Hitchcock-like game of cat and mouse across the country involving a psychopath bent on vengeance against a group of crooked gamblers that drove his brother to suicide after he lost money that belonged to his company in a card game. The psychopathic brother is hunting the gamblers down one by one and hanging them - which is the way his brother killed himself. Up to the end all you see of this guy is a big beefy hand with a large black ring on one finger. The gamblers that know they're targets don't even know that much about the appearance of the man out to get them. And this is their one hope - to find out what the guy looks like so they can at least have a chance.

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.
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