On Dangerous Ground

1951, Movie, NR, 82 mins

Review

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A realistic and often gripping crime yarn, ON DANGEROUS GROUND tells the story of tough cop Ryan. He has been brutalized by his job of cleaning up the "human garbage" in New York City and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Ryan is so filled with hate that he lets his fists speak for him when interrogating any suspect. To avoid having to suspend this normally good policeman, captain Begley sends Ryan into the country to help investigate a rural killing. There, Ryan is confronted with a vengeance-seeking father, Bond, who lives every moment of his life just to be able to catch the killer of his daughter and empty his shotgun into him, a man seething with so much hatred that he becomes a mirror image for Ryan. He also meets Lupino, the blind sister of the wanted killer, and through her compassionate view of the world, becomes more humane and understanding, realizing that the youth charged with the crime is mentally disturbed. Lupino begs Ryan to take her brother alive and prevent him from falling into Bond's hands. This the cop attempts to do, tracking the youth (Williams) across vast tracts of snow. Cornered, Williams panics and, instead of taking Ryan's help, falls from a cliff to his death. Ryan consoles Lupino and then plans to head back to New York. He realizes he loves Lupino but he knows no other work than law enforcement. Before returning to the city, however, Ryan comes to accept the fact that there is nothing in New York for him but misery. He returns to Lupino, resolved to begin a new life. ON DANGEROUS GROUND is tautly directed by that master of stark dramas, Nicholas Ray. Ryan and Lupino give sterling performances but the story line is broken up into two distinct segments, which lessens the film's impact and cohesiveness. It failed to hit at the box-office and RKO lost $425,000 on this above-average film noir entry. leave a comment

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