Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Dangerous Crossing |
Fox Film Noir
Actors: Jeanne Crain, Michael Rennie, Max Showalter, Carl Betz, Mary Anderson
Director: Joseph M. Newman
Genres: Classics, Mystery & Suspense
No Description Available. Genre: Mystery Rating: NR Release Date: 11-MAR-2008 Media Type: DVD
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Lewis P. (Turfseer) from NEW YORK, NY
Reviewed on 12/18/2010...
A neat little 'B' noir, despite leading lady's histrionics
*** This review contains spoilers ***
Click on the DVD special features and you'll learn a few interesting things about 'Dangerous Crossing'. First off, it only took 19 days to film; and it cost about $500,000 which was less than half of what Twentieth Century Fox was paying for their 'A' blockbusters such as 'Titanic', which also was released around the same time in 1953. Speaking of 'Titanic', a good number of the sets from that film were used in 'Crossing' along with a pool set from 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes', another 'A' feature, also released in 1953. By using the sets from those other more expensive films, this was a big reason why the producers of 'Dangerous Crossing' were able to have the film made on the cheap as well as shoot it on such a short schedule.
'Dangerous Crossing' is a taut, little mystery with an ocean cruise as its setting. Jeanne Crain plays Ruth Stanton Bowman who just got married a day before and is off on her honeymoon with John Bowman (played by Carl Betz, known for his stint on TV's 'Donna Reed Show' a few years later). Once the couple boards the ship and settles into their cabin, the story takes a real spooky twist, reminiscent of a Twilight Zone episode. John disappears and the crew has no record of him being on the passenger manifest. Ruth starts to panic and the ship's captain orders the ship's physician, Paul Manning (played by the erudite Michael Rennie), to basically keep tabs on her. It appears that Ruth is off her rocker but the captain goes by the book and orders a search of the ship with negative results.
The tension in the plot keeps rising as Ruth receives a mysterious call from John who warns her that both of them are in great danger and he'll have to contact her later. The call makes Ruth even more frantic as she basically begins running around the ship conducting her own investigation. At a certain point, Ruth realizes that if she continues to act hysterically and fails to contain her anger, the doctor will be forced by the captain to confine her to her quarters. So she begins pretending that her story about coming on board with her husband, is simply a figment of her imagination (an idea suggested to her by Dr. Manning).
Ruth's paranoia is exacerbated when she encounters various fellow passengers and crew members all who seem quite menacing in her eyes. One passenger in particular sends her into a tailspin and that's this older German gentleman who walks with a limp and carries a cane. Of course he's just there (like most of the other crew and passengers) to throw the audience off the scent.
After Dr. Manning shows Ruth a telegram from the Bureau of Investigation on the mainland that her personal physician and housekeeper know nothing about her getting married, Ruth confesses that she kept the marriage a secret. It seems she had a reason to fear someone might be after her and her new husband: right before her father died, he left her the family business--cutting out the father's half-brother who threatened the father in the event that he planned to disinherit him.
Ruth experiences her 'dark moment the soul' when she encounters John on the deck and he runs away from her. In an excellent scene, she runs into the dining room and in a fit of paranoia, faints after she believes the crew members are all coming after her. The ship's captain immediately confines her to her quarters and her fears of being branded a lunatic have come true. Soon we learn that she hasn't been crazy after all. In the climactic scene, one of the ship's officers (who has been feigning illness and has been on sick leave) turns out to have impersonated Ruth's husband. Since Ruth has been confined to quarters and the ship will dock the next day, 'Bowman' attempts to strangle Ruth and throw her overboard, to make it look like she committed suicide. Manning intercepts Ruth's would-be killer and he ends up getting caught in a rope and falls overboard.
Up until the ending, 'Dangerous Crossing' is a highly entertaining mystery which keeps the audience continually guessing as to the outcome. The outcome however has one main problem. If 'Bowman' had been successful, he couldn't have claimed Ruth's inheritance since it would have shed light on his whole plot to kill her. It appears that 'Bowman' was really working with Ruth's father's half-brother who probably had paid 'Bowman' to do Ruth in. So it would have been much better if 'Bowman' mentioned this to Ruth as he's about to strangle her--he could have said something to the effect, 'Remember that uncle of yours--well, he and I had a little deal. Now, I hope you finally get it."
Most of the performances in 'Dangerous Crossing' are quite good but I did feel Jeanne Crain could have kept some of those histrionics under wrap. I'm referring especially to all those fainting spells every time she ends up receiving some kind of bad news. Also I found Dr. Manning to be remarkably patient (as well as Captain Peters) in dealing with the oftentimes hysterical Ruth. I know the staff of a cruise ship must be patient and courteous to the passengers, but would crew members today be as patient with someone like Ruth, who had a continual problem in controlling her anger?
'Dangerous Crossing' is a surprisingly well-made 'B' film noir. Particularly impressive is the cinematography in which a multitude of close-ups are utilized to a most efficacious effect.
Excellent Suspense Film
Brent Rohde | United States of America | 01/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Dangerous Crossing" [1953/Fox/b&w] was a low-budget film, but a first-class spellbinder. Scenario in brief: a new bride boards an ocean liner with her husband. The ship sails. He disappears. Why? How? Did he even exist? The bride's hysteria builds...until the mystery is solved.
This alarming, but riveting story was conceived by John Dickson Carr, a veteran contributor to CBS Radio's "Suspense." Director Joseph M. Newman's delayed-gratification, "march to the guillotine" pacing; the successful creation of an absolutely suffocating atmosphere of dread; the heart-rending performance of beautiful Jeanne Crain in one of her most challenging roles as the young bride; the sympathetic contributions of Michael Rennie as the ship's doctor: all distinguish "Dangerous Crossing" as a suspenseful film noir of the first order. Recommended without reservation."
Fine Fare from Fox Film Noir!
Glenn M. Schoditsch | Richmond, Virginia USA | 01/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This highly suspenseful film featuring the exquisitely beautiful Jeanne Crain finally makes it to DVD. Also starring Michael Rennie, Carl Betz (Donna Reed show) and a host of recognizable character actors provide us with a more than convincing edge of your seat thriller. This short (75 minutes long) film is packed with Hitchcockian touches making for a fine addition to any one's Mystery/Suspense collection!
This release is beautifully restored with excellent gray-scale resolution.
Bonus features abound including:
*Audio Commentary by Film Historian Aubrey Soloman
*Peril at Sea: Charting A Dangerous Crossing (Featurette)
*Interactive Passbook - Still Galleries
*Original Theatrical Trailer"
A Solid Entry in the Fox Film Noir Series
Alexander S. White | Richmond, VA USA | 03/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As I write this review, there have been two reviews of this film posted here, each of which gave it five stars. I enjoyed the movie, but I have to say that five stars is a little over-exuberant for this particular movie. I would reserve that sort of rating for a Casablanca, The Lady Vanishes, Duck Soup, and quite a few others, but I don't think those who made this movie intended it to be an undying work of cinema art, and so I'm giving it three stars, recognizing it as a solid, workmanlike product churned out by the studio system in (as the special features on the DVD point out several times), just nineteen days of shooting.
Let me be a little more specific. I'm going to limit what I say to a certain extent, because this is a film based on a story by John Dickson Carr, the master of "locked room" mysteries, and a large part of the film's dramatic energy stems from the fact that the story starts out with one of those seemingly impossible situations -- the young, starry-eyed bride boards the ocean liner with her wonderful new husband, only to have him disappear within minutes after boarding, and to have no one else on board the ship acknowledge that he ever existed. (Similar in some ways to The Lady Vanishes, mentioned above as a five-star effort of this sort by Mr. Hitchcock.)
Anyway, I am honor-bound not to write any spoilers, and I won't. What I will say is that the film is very well made. The special features point out that this movie used sets left over from the "Titanic" film of that era, so the quality of the shipboard scenes is quite good from a technical point of view. The acting and direction are fine, and the movie is very short and to the point. There is a good air of mystery, and we, the viewers, are left wondering what on earth (sea, I should say) is going on until a "reveal" moment by a villain about halfway through. (I hope that wasn't a spoiler, but, yes, there is at least one villain; it wasn't all just a big mistake.)
My main criticism isn't really anything negative -- the movie is well done for what it is. What it is, in my opinion, is a good example of the films cranked out like sausages back in the days before television caught on. I'm a bit too young to remember, but I believe the movies changed at least once per week in those days, and there often were double features. This would not have been a bill-topper. It strikes me as a woman-oriented melodrama, with a plot and style bearing hallmarks of the mass-produced romance novel -- young woman in grave jeopardy on board a ship; no one is listening to her, except a tall, dark, and handsome doctor (Michael Rennie), who is attentive, suave, and warm. There is not much in the way of subtlety or complexity in the film. There is an effective build-up of suspense, and some fairly standard "shocks" from bumping into things or hearing strange noises, or doors creaking, but nothing that really resonates as having great artistic merit.
Also, although I'm not at liberty to discuss them with those of you who haven't yet seen the film, I saw what I believe to be fairly obvious holes in the plot. A story like this by definition has to be somewhat contrived, in order to set up the seemingly impossible situation, but, once the solution was revealed, I had to ask myself how that solution would have been possible, practically speaking. In other words, how could the villain(s) have pulled that off, realistically. The movie does not do a great job of explaining the solution in any detail.
But, I have no regrets at having bought and watched the DVD. The movie is very nicely transferred to DVD; both audio and video are fine, and the featurette on the making of the film, with Jeanne Crain's grand-daughter and others, was quite informative. The movie is a good, entertaining diversion for a rainy afternoon, but it rates no more than a solid three stars."