- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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where danger lives
- kevin sellers
I couldn't help but compare this noir to Otto Preminger's better example of the genre, made four years later, "Angel Face." In both, Robert Mitchum plays a member of the medical profession, falling for a crazy brunette. In "Angel Face," he's an ambulance driver. In this one, he's a doctor. In "Angel Face," the femme fatale is played by Jean Simmons. In this one, it's Faith Domergue. In "Angel Face," Mitchum perishes, along with Simmons, in a sudden and violent car crash. In this one, Mitchum survives and marries Maureen O'Sullivan. And there you have three reasons why "Angel Face" is a better noir than "Where Danger Lives." Reason #1, which was mentioned by a previous reviewer, is that you just don't buy a doctor as smart and sensitive as Mitchum is presented to be in this film falling for an obviously unstable gal like Domergue. It makes more sense if Mitchum's playing an ambulance driver of average intelligence. Reason#2 is that, simply put, Domergue is not a very good actress and Simmons is an accomplished, theatrically trained actress who can convey insanity without resorting to histrionics, as does Domergue. Reason#3 is that, with a few exceptions ("Big Sleep," being the main one) noir, by definition, should not have sunny, happy endings, as this one does. So while I appreciate John Farrow's crisp, taut direction and Charles Bennet's spare, no nonsense screenplay, and while I like the nightmare border world of CalMex that anticipates by 8 years "Touch Of Evil," I still consider this, like most of Farrow's work, a decent rather than a great or even very good film. Give it a B minus. P.S. I rank Domergue #3 on the Howard Hughes sexy brunette scale, behind Ava and Jane and ahead of Jean Peters.
I like when I see a new girl in a movie. It makes the movie fresh and believable. I thought Domergue was good in the part but I can't help thinking this movie would have been snapping good with a young Bette Davis as Mitchum's seducer. This is the kind of part she owned and it is a great part because this is a strong, manipulative, unapologetic woman. I guess you had to be "crazy" to be that way in a 1950 film. Also, I think Mitchum's part should have been an uneducated, inexperienced young man - not a Dr. He could have been an athlete, mechanic, builder, store clerk anything is more likely to throw everything away and run off with a beautiful rich gal than a Dr.
Improbable but Highly Entertaining
In order to make this plot work, they had to come up with a reason to excuse Mitchum's character's astoundingly bad decisions, so they used a concussion. It's pretty weak, but Faith Domergue is great to watch. What agreat film noir psychopath! Claude Rains has a very small role, but he is brilliant as always, and really helps the story.