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The Dark Corner [DVD]

4.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, William Bendix, Mark Stevens, Kurt Krueger
  • Directors: Henry Hathaway
  • Producers: Fred Kohlmar
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Dutch, French, German
  • 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: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 16 Jan. 2006
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CS34TE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,941 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Classic film noir starring Mark Stevens as private investigator Bradford Galt, who has moved to New York from San Francisco after serving a jail term on account of his lawyer partner, Tony Jardine (Kurt Krueger). When he finds someone is tailing - and possibly trying to kill him, Galt believes Jardine is behind it. As he finds there is rather more to it, he is increasingly glad to have his attractive new secretary Kathleen (Lucille Ball) around, for several reasons.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Good but slightly too tidy film noir from veteran director Henry Hathaway.Private investigator Bradford Galt (Mark Stevens) is being framed for murder but his secretary Kathleen Corley (Lucielle Ball in an early straight role )is determined to help him clear his name. Considering the film noir staples of isolation, menace and expressionist atmosphere are self evident throughout, The Dark Corner has an upbeat feel that contradicts the very edicts of noir. William Bendix excels as the heavy and Clifton Webb basically reprises his role from Laura .
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Get Greta Garbo to say "Gimme a Style viss Substance, and go easy on the Substance", and you'd have a fair summation of this film. In other words, we have a fairly competent Noir, but one which leaves you with the impression that it's Noir-by numbers.

First, the plot. Galt (Mark Stevens) is a private dick setting up business in NY after a stint in the can for manslughter. He took the fall for previous partner Jardine (Kurt Kreuger), who is romancing Mari Cathcart, the young wife of ageing Art dealer Cathcart (Clifton Webb). Cathcart suspects (rightly) that his wife is having an affair with Jardine. Cathcart's aim is to have jardine killed and set Galt up as the patsy.

So much for plot. What about its noir creds?
1) It has plenty of deep shadows, chiaroscuro and New-York-is-a mean-kinda-place ambience.
2) It has Dames. Mari Cathcart (Cathy Downs) is the femme fatale a la Barbara Stanwyck or Mary Astor, and it has Lucille Ball as Galt's secretary, who consistently steers him away from trouble, sorts out his problems and (of course) falls in love with him.
3) It has an obvious and clearly disposable heavy (Bendix), and a far more subtle Icy Villain Who Will Stop At Nothing (Clifton Webb).

So much for its creds. What it doesn't have is real credibility or punch.
Why does the studio have to strain the viewer's suspension of disbelief in having Mark Stevens as a heavy? Stevens, as other reviewers have pointed out, doesn't really carry much screen presence, and the idea of him beating up Foss/Bendix is laughable.
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A good film of a tight corner as well as being in a dark corner. Mark Stevens, a private investigator, is being watched and fallowed and trying to be set up for something new, William Bendix the stock built man in the white suite. Clifton Webb the smarmy charmer and ladies man he's supposed to be. Lucille Ball, the devoted secretary, helps him to fight his innocence all the way. Good thriller and suspense.
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Brad (Mark Stevens) tries to work out why Fred Foss (William Bendix) is following him. He does this with the help of his secretary Kathleen (Lucille Ball). The story involves a former acquaintance of Brad's, Anthony Jardine (Kurt Kreuger), an art-collector, Hardy (Clifton Webb) and his girlfriend, Mari (Cathy Downs). Brad is framed for murder....

This film is confusing. We are never given the explanation as to why anyone would want to go after Brad in the first place. The betrayal that motivates the murder doesn't take place till half-way through the film, so what on earth is the first half of the film about! Lucille Ball has no role of any substance and Mark Stevens is just not hard-looking enough to carry off a hard-man role. It's laughable when he threatens Bendix and Kreuger at different stages in the film - no way, mate, they'd both kill you! Webb is always dependable to deliver cutting lines but Downs is pathetic in a femme-fatale role - she doesn't cut it.

As for the dialogue - ??! Every cliché that you could ever imagine. Expect lines from the cheesy like "I can be framed easier than Whistler's mother" and "One thing led to another, and he led with his right" to the stupid "I'm clean as a peeled egg...." It's endless. You go 2 ways with this. 1 - you take it as a joke and laugh all the way through the film; 2 - you listen to the dialogue and try and watch the film as if it is a serious noir/crime thriller film. I did the latter and it doesn't work. Finally, the plot - it's complicated because we never have a coherent story, yet every scene is predictable, eg, Hardy's meeting with Foss, and the denouement (soooo obvious!). The film also tags on a predictable clichéd happy ending. This is NOT a good film.
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Private investigator Bradford Galt has a troubled past, starting afresh in New York, it seems the past is back to get him tho as an old nemesis may be out to kill him. But aided by his intrepid secretary, Kathleen, he intends to get to the bottom of the shady mystery that's lurking in the dark corner.

Henry Hathaway {Kiss of Death/Call Northside 777} directs this very tidy Noir/Crime picture that stars Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, William Bendix and Mark Stevens. Expertly photographed by Joseph MacDonald, The Dark Corner has a plot that although simple to follow, has a few tricks up its sleeve along the way. Tho it ultimately amounts to really being a race against the clock "whodunit," as opposed to a gritty web of deceit, there's dashes of brutality and pinging dialogue to ensure that interest is held for the viewer right up to the finale. Hathaway and MacDonald utilise the Manhattan setting to the max, be it the more affluent side of the story involving Webb's art gallery, or the down and dirty penny arcade streets where the likes of William Bendix prowl. Fine settings that are given a shadowy sheen by the talented makers. The cast are strong, particularly Lucille Ball as Kathleen and the little snatches of jazz in the score heighten the mood.

Recommended with confidence for fans of Noir/Crime/Mystery movies of the 40s and 50s. 7/10
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