The Dark Past [Region 2]
|Additional DVD options||Edition||Discs||
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Top Customer Reviews
noir drama, THE DARK PAST, directed by Rudolph Mate.
THE DARK PAST stars William Holden and Lee J. Cobb.
THE DARK PAST has its origins as a successful Broadway play
produced in 1935 titled "Blind Alley" which ran for over 100
performances and was produced as a 1939 film again called
BLIND ALLEY which was directed by Charles Vidor and starred
Chester Morris and Ralph Bellamy.
I think the chance to use sureal images in the manner of
postwar films to show dreams and mental images was one of the
reasons for filming this story again. Another reason was in
postwar Hollywood psychiatry was really coming into its own
as a possible cure for man's ills, and if you listen to Dr.
Andrew Collins, played by Lee J. Cobb, explanations of its
possibilities you might become convinced of its effectiveness.
THE DARK PAST concerns escaped killer Al Walker who with his gang
tales control of a roomy vacation home and its occupants, chief among
them psychiatrist and professor Dr. Andrew Collins, played by Lee J. Cobb.
In a plot that somewhat reminds me of THE PETRIFIED FORREST, the outlaws
have to wait for their ride to come along and as the hours go by
the professor has a chance to analyze the killer and his recurring dreams.
I think here's where noir comes in, Al Walker is in a trap because of
past incidences and can't escape what has happened to him. In fact
he keeps reliving it in surreal nightmares until Professor Collins
leads him to the light of reason and sanity but by then it's of
course too late for Al Wilson.
I know a lot of this seems dated but it is 1948 after all. THE DARK PAST
has a goodly share of tension and excitement and fine, believable performances
by all involved. I really enjoyed THE DARK PAST and give it a Four Star rating.
This story begins with a view of New York city. We see people on a bus, who are they? The speaker is Dr. Andrew Collins, a Police Psychiatrist. We see a police line-up of arrested suspects. [Do they still do this?] Can a young man be saved? Dr. Collins tells about his past experiences in upstate New York, hunting and fishing. [No ban on firearms in colleges.] Al Walker broke out of prison by kidnapping the Warden and then hiding in the woods with his gang. "You didn't have to do that" says his girlfriend. The villains take over the Professor's cabin to hide. [It's a pretty ritzy cabin.] Al Walker gives orders. "Ask for the time!" Roadblocks are set up to catch Walker's gang. "If you see him, shoot first" say the police. Dr. Collins teaches psychology. We see the tension caused by these criminals. Then a neighbor drives up. "Act natural!"
A shot is fired. Young Bobby climbs out of the window and runs away, but is caught. Can chess relax a tense mind? Does a compulsion drive Al Walker? Can Dr. Collins cure criminals? He explains the "subconscious mind". Are problems caused by the "subconscious mind"? Fred Linder's wife calls the police since he has not returned home. There is thunder in the night. They wait for Larry. The police learn about the missing professor and go to investigate. Walker has the same bad dream night after night. A heavy rain falls on him, and he is trapped. What is its meaning? Can he be cured? Dr. Collins tries to help by asking questions about Walker's past. He hated his parents, and is afraid of madness. The guests upstairs have conflicts. Walker's dream is analyzed by Dr. Collins. His mother was the only woman he ever loved.
One of the maids in the basement loosens her bonds and climbs out of the window.Read more ›
Lee J. Cobb plays a professor of psychology who discovers that a desperate killer and his gang have escaped from prison and want to use his house to hide. They have guns on his friends, his wife, and most particularly his young boy. At no time does Lee J. Cobb lose his cool...what he wants to do is "cure" the gangster of his recurring bad dream. Meanwhile, he quietly smokes his pipe. And the murderer allows Lee J. Cobb to interrogate him to do this. It is all nonsense. Not believable. for a minute. William Holden, who is really a great actor, just phones his performance in.
All this is part of a social issues type of movie that says - "hey let's give these hardened criminals a break...they had bad experiences in the past...and their minds can be cured in a single afternoon."
So disappointing, I have to remind everyone to stay away from the film.
Cobb at the time was a professor of psychology at a university. He had planned to spend the weekend at his country house with his family and some guests. Just at that time Holden had escaped from prison and travelling with his mob including girlfriend Betty played by Nina Foch, intending to hide out in the area. They break into Cobb's home holding the group hostage while waiting for a previously planned rendez-vous.
This set the stage for the interesting interplay between Cobb and Holden. Holden was a conflicted psychotic with a penchant for murder but unable to sleep due to recurring nightmares. His psychoses were tied to his past and so deeply ingrained as to cause paralysis of two of his fingers. Cobb, cool under the threat of violence at the hands of Holden, sincerely offered to help him work through his problems, analyzing the source of his dreams. Holden trusting Cobb's intentions and grudgingly subjecting himself to therapy is finally cured and in the process sedated, ultimately surrendering to authorities.
While the psychobabble espoused in the film is of an elementary, simplistic nature the interaction between the characters make it an interesting plot. The movie does get overly didactic at its conclusion with Cobb glorifying the benefits of psychotherapy in treating the criminal mind.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
DR Andrew Collins(Lee J Cobb)working with young street punks tells of a gangster,Al Walker(William Holden)who he once encountered while on vacation. Read morePublished on January 29, 2012 by Brian
Great film noir - I appreciate also your prompt service -
I watched "The Dark Past" because I (generally) enjoy William Holden films. He plays a rather different role in this movie but he does alright. I recently had seen Lee J. Read morePublished on June 3, 2007 by Randy Keehn