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On Dangerous Ground [DVD]

Ida Lupino , Robert Ryan , Ida Lupino , Nicholas Ray    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 6.56 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond, Charles Kemper, Anthony Ross
  • Directors: Ida Lupino, Nicholas Ray
  • Writers: Nicholas Ray, A.I. Bezzerides, Gerald Butler
  • Producers: John Houseman, Sid Rogell
  • Format: PAL, Import
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: Castilian
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Manga Films
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Dec 2003
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000G8NZI0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,722 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Spain released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Spanish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Biographies, Black & White, Filmographies, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Hard, withdrawn city cop Jim Wilson roughs up one too many suspects and is sent upstate to help investigate the murder of a young girl in the winter countryside. There he meets Mary Malden, whom he finds attractive and independent. However, Mary's brother is chief suspect in the killing. And Mary herself is blind. ...On Dangerous Ground ( Dark Highway )


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad With Much Heart 9 Sep 2006
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
On Dangerous Ground is a flawed favorite, boasting an exceptional performance from Robert Ryan as a man as much attracted as repulsed by his own capacity for violence - the look on his face before beating a suspect into the hospital, the almost sexual glee tinged with disgust as he repeats "Why do you make me do it?" to justify his own imminent enjoyment to himself give him a disturbingly raw emotional violence that's far more worrying than anything his fists can do. Even Ward Bond's distraught and vengeful father of a murder victim is disturbed by the joy of the hunt he finds in that face. Nicholas Ray's camerawork is similarly on the brink of falling to pieces in the opening city section, eavesdropping in and out of windows and windscreens before erupting into a brutal alley chase shot with a bold use of handheld camera that's still seems shockingly vital for a 50s studio picture. They're both matched blow for blow by Bernard Herrmann's strikingly violent score, with a main title like a sword slashing through flesh and striking bone but with passages beautifully underlining the loneliness and sadness behind the savagery. Mad With Much Heart indeed.

Even the prolonged section with Ida Lupino's blind woman and the possibility of another, more compassionate way of life avoids mawkishness, not least because pity is neither sought nor given. Only the miraculous ending doesn't work. Whether this is due to the 10 minutes of studio-imposed cuts and the re-editing and restructuring the film went through during more than a year on the shelf or whether it was always a problem we'll probably never know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Garbage, all we handle is garbage. 8 April 2011
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
On Dangerous Ground is directed by Nicholas Ray and stars Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan & Ward Bond. It's loosely adapted by Ray and A. I. Bezzerides from Gerald Butler's novel Mad With Much Heart. Cinematography is by George E. Diskant & the music is provided by Bernard Herrmann & Paul Sawtell. The story concerns Ryan's weary, lonely and psychologically bothered cop, Jim Wilson. Who after finally snapping the patience of his superiors is sent to Westham in the rural north to aid a murder case there. The idea is to get him off the streets he's so bitter about and to stop him finally going over the violence tinged edge. It's here, amongst the wintry landscapes, that he is brought into contact with Mary Malden {Lupino}. A practically blind woman, Mary holds all the keys to the mystery and to the door at the end of Wilson's journey.

Right from the outset we are in no doubt that Nicholas Ray is about to take us on a noir journey. Herrmann's pulse like score accompanies its nighttime opening, Diskant's photography immediately painting a harsh city where life on the streets is tough. A place where loneliness can eat away at the soul and bleakness pours down off of the bars and the cheaply built apartments. It is in short, firmly encapsulating of Jim Wilson's bitterness and frame of mind. Wilson, once a prime athlete, is mired in solitude, his only telling contribution to society is his work, but that is ebbing away by the day. His mood is not helped by his partners, Pop & Pete, who can easily switch off once their shift has finished; but they have family to go home too, Wilson does not. Wilson's only source of joy comes courtesy of the paperboy he briefly plays football with out on the street {a rare ray of light in the films moody atmospheric first half}.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
On Dangerous Ground is a strange sort of noir. Whatever "classic" means in films these days, it may well be one. The film is powerful. It hasn't become dated after more than 50 years, and it features a classic, compelling performance by Robert Ryan. On Dangerous Ground is not so much a noir as it is a movie of redemption. I can't think of any other actor of Ryan's era who could have performed the role of Jim Wilson half as well.

Wilson is a big city police detective, a cop for 11 years, with a short fuse. He's wound so tight even his fellow cops are uneasy.

"Hey, what's the matter with Jim? I think he's sore or something," says one cop to Pop Daly, an older detective who has been Jim's partner for quite a while.
"He's sore all right," says Daly. "All we ever see is crooks, murderers, winos, stoolies, dames...all with an angle. You get so you think everybody's like that. `Till you find out different, it's kind of a lonely life."

Jim doesn't much care what happens to the people he's after. He beats them, puts them in the hospital, even sets up a gangster's girl friend for some brutal treatment by the guy after he makes her talk. His boss warns him about his behavior but he can't stop himself. He catches a cop killer and starts beating the life out of him until he's pulled off by Pop.

"What kind of a job is this, anyway?" Jim cries. "Garbage, that's all we handle...garbage!"
"Didn't you know? That's the kind of job it is!" Pop yells at him.
"How do you do it? How do you live with yourself?"
"I don't." says Pop. "I live with other people."

Halfway through the movie the director, Nicholas Ray, abruptly moves us from the dark, mean streets of a typical noir film.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Film 15 Aug 2006
By Kurt Harding - Published on Amazon.com
While I certainly don't claim to be an expert on film making as the first reviewer apparently is, I do know what I like, and I really like On Dangerous Ground.

First, I like the storyline. A police story like this couldn't happen today. A rogue officer who beat information out of suspects, even those who deserved a beating or worse, would be quickly pilloried in the press and most likely fired and charged with some offense. In this film, Robert Ryan's character was merely sent upstate to help in a rural murder case while the public uproar over his brutality subsided. But the film is not just about the mean streets and police brutality, it is about a man who discovers and comes to terms with his real self and in the end is redeemed by love.

Secondly, I like the film-makers technique. The city streets are ever wet and grimy, while the rural mountainous area to which Ryan is sent is unrelentingly cold and bleak. The picture painted of a cold world is one that carries on throughout the film. One of the few spots of warmth is in the house where the blind Ida Lupino lives with her deranged brother.

Next, I like the mostly on-location shoots. Though the upstate "Siberia" to which Ryan's character was sent is putatively in New York, it was actually filmed mostly on location in Colorado lending an air of rural authenticity to the film it would otherwise not have. The locale, though bleak and cold, has its own majestic natural grandeur. Anyway, it LOOKS like Colorado (or California) and not New York, so until I read more about the film, I thought that Ryan was an LA cop rather than with the NYPD.

Lastly, the acting is first-rate. Ryan's transformation is spell-binding, and Lupino's role performed with aplomb. Ward Bond is excellent as an enraged father sworn to violently avenge the murder of his daughter.

If you are a fan of the film noir genre and have yet to see On Dangerous Ground, then you are in for a treat. The only negative comment I have to make is that in the commentary feature, Glenn Erickson natters on too long about the admittedly glorious score composed by Bernard Herrmann and misses commenting on a few scenes which would benefit from some clarification.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a throwback to Dirty Harry 30 Aug 2001
By Franklin S. Jarlett - Published on Amazon.com
On Dangerous Ground was an esoteric masterpicece, which Nicholas Ray and A.I. Bezzerides adapted from the British novel, Mad With Much Heart. Robert Ryan may have given one of his subtlest portrayals in the film, which was short on dialogue, high on visual expression, and augmented by Bernard Herrmann's dramatic score (he later stated that this was his favorite personal composition). As Detective Jim Wilson, Ryan's character was a noir type with which he was familiar, a man so tormented by what he sees in the line of duty that he is driven to commut brutal acts. Wilson's role delineates the conflict of the story, that of a man turned rancorous and cynical from dealing with the dregs of society. He has become a loner, an essentially good man gone sour, and though his conscience bothers him, he is trapped. Stooping to the level of those he detests, he has incorporated their self-destructiveness into his own actions. One scene, with the blonde, vampish Myrna (Cleo Moore), indicates the extent of his frustrations, as masochism and sexuality are tied together. As Myrna shows Wilson the bruise her boyfriend recently gave her, she directs his hand, holding an unlit cigarette, into her mouth. The music in the background synchronizes with a shot of Wilson turning toward Myrna, who says, "You'll squeeze it out of me with those big strong arms, won't you?" He softly replies, "That's right, sister." The next fade-in shows Wilson slowly descending the dark staircase of her building in deep thought, leaving one to ponder whether he has left Myrna safe or sorry. Another spare, yet graphic, scene depicting Wilson's violent impulses occurs in an eerie film noir setting, appropriately named the Harbor Hotel, a seedy tenement on a one-way street. A stool pidgeon has tipped off Wilson and his partner about a murder suspect, Burney Tucker, and the two cops pay him a visit. Accompanied by the rising crescendo of Herrmann's magnificent score, Wilson loses control of himself and snarls, "I always make you punks talk! Why do you make me do it? Why? Why?" He is on the verge of a total breakdown as he responds to Burney's masochistic entreaty, "Hit me, hit me," by nearly beating him to death. The pangs of conscience that erupt when Wilson returns to his apartment are acted out symbolically. Frowning as he shuts the door and switches on the bare overhead light, Wilson's face contorts into a desolate mask of anger and hopelessness. As he gazes despairingly at the trophy resting on his dresser, it is the sole remnant from his optimistic past. To blot out the world, he jerks down the window shade, walks to the sink, and while a trombone insinuates a somber melody in the background, he is compelled to wash his hands of his recent dirty work. It is an unconscious "undoing" act, but as he anxiously wipes his hands with a towel, the guilt remains. In addition to director Ray's high artistic talent, cinematographer George E. Diskant's expertise in low-key, high contrast lighting situations, and Herrmann's beautiful score, counterpointed the drama as it unfolded. Virginia Majewski's virtuoso viola work perfectly complemented his orchestration. Working within Ray's unconventional story, Ryan and co-star Ida Lupino brought the whole piece together by making their scenes together into intimate conversations. Although their romantic involvement is depicted only briefly in the final frames, their embrace possesses real emotional power. Ryan's predilection for appearing in films dealing with the raw truths of existence sometimes prompted queries about his attraction to the melancholic. He was once asked why he never played comedy roles, and he responded, "I play them as I see them." Author James Kreidl discussed On Dangerous Ground and Ryan's performance, and concurred that he had an affinity for tragedy. Calling the picture "deadly serious and completely cut off from the romantic comedy," Kreidl described Ryan's interpretation as "subdued, controlled, understated - almost expressionistic." Despite being undervalued in 1952, On Dangerous Ground has resurfaced often for study by serious film scholars, and is frequently featured in film retrospectives.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Noir in the snow . . . 24 Aug 2006
By Ronald Scheer - Published on Amazon.com
This terrific 1950 film follows the descent and redemption of a big city police detective (Robert Ryan), alienated and emotionally isolated by the corrosive nature of his work and sent "upstate" by his boss (Ed Begley) to help the locals track down a killer. Upstate turns out to be Colorado, where much of the film was shot, knee deep in snow. There he teams up with the enraged father of the victim (Ward Bond), armed and determined to take the law into his own hands. And he also befriends a blind woman (Ida Lupino), who turns out to be the sister of the hunted man.

Removed from the dark, mean streets of the city and the morally compromised women that his work brings him in contact with, our (anti)hero discovers another world that calls to his higher instincts, both as a cop and as a man. In true Hays Code fashion, the cynicism characteristic of the hard-boiled crime fiction that gave birth to film noir is transformed in the end by the love a decent woman.

John Houseman produced this well-made film and Nicholas Ray directed. The sun-swept exteriors of wintertime Colorado are a visually striking contrast to the stylized urban shadow world of dark streets and low-rent hotel rooms. Camera work is inventive, and the Bernard Hermann score is sweeping and pulse quickening. The DVD has an informative scene-by-scene commentary that highlights the film's cinematic achievements while exploring its relationship to the genre of film noir and its place in the careers of the filmmaker and the cast.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ray's Neglected Masterpiece 17 Dec 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Director Nicholas Ray disliked this film's "miracle" ending. Let's hope that judgement didn't apply to the movie as a whole. Because, from jarring commencement to pastoral close, On Dangerous Ground may be the legendary Ray's most beautifully realized film. Reviewer Jarlett has done a good job bringing out the high points, including the absolutely riveting performance of Robert Ryan in the pivotal cop role. Rarely has any screen actor conveyed tortured sensitivity as effectively as Ryan's Jim Wilson. Nor could many directors or actors bring off the emotional final scene so persuasively. Ray was wrong. The ending works. It works because he and Ryan had the artistic sensibility to make it work despite a Hollywood where cynicism is the norm and true romantics are as rare as hen's teeth.
Fifty years have passed since the movie's release. In the meantime, cops alienated from society have become an entertainment staple, if not cliche. Ray's early entry transcends the genre because of spiritual overtones that are at once mysterious and profound, and a long way from the hokey variety that usually emanate from studio cynics. Wilson's arc from savage cop to gentle lover is a modern tale of suffering and redemption, as mesmerizing now as at mid-century. Made finally to see his own suppressed humanity through the eyes of a blind girl, Wilson stands at movie's end on the threshhold of becoming the good man he has always been, despite the years of desensitizing police experience. Fortunately, Ryan's convincing expressions, tones, and gestures, have prepared us for this redemptive turn, despite the overt brutality. Unlike such fashionable counterparts as Bullitt or Dirty Harry, hopelessly adrift in their amoral urban worlds, Ray, Ryan, and Lupino pull off that most difficult of challenges -- they make us actually believe in the redemptive power of love and caring as dimensions of real life, and not merely as plot cliches. In fact, the entire film moves toward this resolution, making it one of the few coherent and compelling renderings of romanticsm in movie history. How powerfully Ray evokes the course of Wilson's spiritual journey from gritty urban fleshpots to barren mountain snowscapes (Colorado), all of which accentuate the growing despair of Wilson's inner world, while the early morning scene of Mary (Lupino) ministering to her star-crossed brother Danny reaches near mystical proportions. This may be the only Hollywood prayer scene that did't send me rushing for the aisle.
There are so many memorable bits in the film that it must be seen to be appreciated. Don't let the relative obscurity fool you. The collaboration here is a permanent record of those superior talents involved. Were the academy awards truly about artistic achievement, nominations would have gone to Ryan, Ray, and scorer Bernard Hermann for their work. But industry prejudices against no-name films, then as now, remain too strong. Nor could the magic be repeated. As a result of this film, Lupino and Ryan went on to make the suspenseful but unremarkable Beware My Lovely, while Ray and Ryan were again paired in the studio's Flying Leathernecks, a dreary Korean war drama. Nevertheless, this one time, under Ray's unifying vision, they came together to fashion a masterpiece of urban despair and spiritual regeneration that continues to disturb after all these years.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong Elements in Spite of Narrative Weakness. 21 Oct 2006
By mirasreviews - Published on Amazon.com
"On Dangerous Ground" is based in part on the British novel "Mad with Much Heart", written for the screen by the renowned A. I. Bezzerides and director Nicholas Ray. Bezzerides and Ray altered the book's themes considerably and added the urban sequences for which the film is best remembered, turning the story into a character study of urban alienation and rural redemption. Neither Bezzerides nor Ray were pleased with the final result though. They didn't like the ending. This was a Howard Hughes production and, accordingly, suffered reshoots and delays. Sometimes Hughes ruined movies with his obsessive tinkering; sometimes he improved them. After its first edit, "On Dangerous Ground" underwent a major reorganization that changed the structure of the film and eliminated the third act. Oddly, this doesn't seem to matter beyond delaying the film's release for 2 years. Rearrange the pieces, and they add up to the same thing.

Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan) is a city police detective, and 11-year veteran of the mean streets. He lives alone, seldom socializes, dedicating himself to ridding the world of crime. His partners are worried about Jim. He can't leave his job at work. He carries the stresses of police work around with him all the time. He's anxious and increasingly violent. When Jim roughs up a suspect to the point of serious injury, police chief Captain Brawley (Ed Begley) sends him to assist a small-town sheriff in a murder investigation upstate. A young girl has been killed by a man while walking home from school. The girl's father Walter Brent (Ward Bond) is a single-minded farmer who won't stop until he has killed the man who killed his daughter. A frantic manhunt is underway, chasing the suspect across the countryside. The chase leads Jim and Brent to the isolated home of Mary Malden (Ida Lupino), a gentle blind woman with something to hide.

"On Dangerous Ground" failed at the box office when it was released in 1952. Critics thought that the urban first half hour of the film and the following 50 minutes of rural action felt like 2 different films. They found Mary Malden's dialogue too maudlin and the final scenes too sentimental. I have to agree with them. But in hindsight it is easier to see the film's successes along with its failures. Actor Robert Ryan and cinematographer George E. Diskant make "On Dangerous Ground" worthwhile. One of the great character actors of his day, Robert Ryan delivers quite an arc as Jim Wilson, a man so sensitized to cruelty that he embraces it. A trip to the countryside, where he comes face to face with a hick version of himself, turns his self-destructive tendencies on end.

Film noir fans gravitate toward the first 30 minutes of "On Dangerous Ground". Jim Wilson is a man consumed by the brutality he tries to stamp out. He's about to self-destruct in noir fashion. But the naturalistic photography of nighttime city streets by George E. Diskant may be the most stunning of its kind. All of the urban scenes take place at night, and they're all beautiful. A striking combination of neo-realist and low-key styles. The many shots from inside moving vehicles are great. Then we move to the snow-covered countryside, filmed on location in Colorado. Now everything is white. If the story doesn't grab you, the photography will. This is also one of Bernard Herrmann's most notable film scores, which successfully stands in for dialogue during the chase scenes. "On Dangerous Ground" doesn't tell a great story, but it does showcase some wonderful work.

The DVD (Warner Brothers 2006): Bonus features are a theatrical trailer (2 min) and an audio commentary by film critic and historian Glenn Erickson. Erickson's commentary is scripted, informative, and continuous. He interviewed A.I. Bezzerides in 1997, so is able to contribute Bezzerides' view of the film. Erickson addresses the film's cinematography, themes, characters, actors, dialogue, and score in scene-by-scene analyses. He relates the history of the production, compares the film to the novel, and talks about the editorial re-organization that restructured the film. Subtitles are available for the film in English, French, and Spanish.
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