Lucille Ball has a change of pace role as the loyal secretary of a private eye in this brooding film noir about a man being set up for a murder rap. Framed by his partner years ago, hard-boiled detective Bradford Galt (Ma... more »rk Stevens) served a two year stretch for manslaughter. Now trying to start over, he spends his time serving his clients and romancing his new secretary, Kathleen (Lucille Ball). But everything changes with the appearance of a sinister man in a whit suit (William Bendix) who's apparently working for Galt's ex-partner, Tony Jardine. When Jardine is killed, the police blame Galt. It's another frame, but if Galt can't prove he's innocent, this time he's headed for death row.« less
"This is the first film noir movie I ever watched and it hooked me on to the genre. It is a superb movie with it's assortment of characters that often populate the film noir genre. Lucille Ball was excellent as the trusting secretary! Another movie to see of Miss Ball's that displays her acting ability is the Big Street with Henry Fonda. Mark Stevens was an actor I had not heard of before. He was suprisingly very good in his role of Brad. Many people think this is the only film-noir done by William Bendix. It is not. He is also in The Big Steal with Robert Mitchum. Clifton Webb is always delightful and his presence in this movie makes you compare this and his other noir classic Laura. He plays the same kind of character - obbessed with a much younger woman when he himself is an aging prudish man. The plot itself is good with some good dialouge and all the actors are in top form! I am sixteen years old and am a BIG classic movie fan and really enjoyed this movie. I reccomend it to any age group."
DEFINITELY BELONGS IN ONE'S FILM NOIR LIBRARY!
Elaine J. Campbell | Rancho Mirage, CA United States | 11/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Why? Because of a script which constantly rivets one's attention, and with many a surprise along the way.
And because of the sterling performances, especially by a young and gorgeous Lucille Ball and the ever professional Clifton Webb, almost recreating his role of Waldo Lideker in the top-notch classic film, "Laura." His acting is superb in both films.
Cathy Downs, who usually did not play glamorous women, shines in her role of an unhappily married (to an older man) woman. Dressed in gorgous gowns, and with untypical deep brunette upsweeped hair, I barely recognized her in this fragile, true- to-form, performance.
Mark Stevens also fares well as the much beleaguered private detective trying to start a new life in the Big Apple. He has just the right amount of spunk and sincerity.
And let's not forget the legendary-by-now cast of character actors: William Bendix terrific as usual, Donald McBride in a brief scene, Reed Hadley, Constance Collier and even Ellen Corby in another brief scene.
Perhaps not as great or blockbusting as "The Maltese Falcon" or "Murder,My Sweet," this film has a truth of its own and Ms. Ball's performance is something to write home about!"
A Dark One For Lucy
Michael Puckett | Little Rock, AR United States | 02/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This often over-looked film noir is a near classic and although it dosn't quite make it to greatness, it does hold up very well against many other better known films in this fasinating genre. The story centers around a down and out gumshoe (Mark Stevens) who after serving time for a crime that he had been framed for, finds himself being setup for murder by someone who seems bent on destroying his life. Along the way he is stalked by the menacing "White Suit" (William Bendix) and helped by his true blue secretary (Lucille Ball) who is the only one who believes his innocence. Mark Stevens is excellent as the put-up-on detective who can't understand what is happening to him, and Lucille Ball is very much at home in her role as the love interest. The "The Dark Corner" is by far one Lucille Ball's best films, it along with "Lured" are a rare look at the mostly untapped dramatic acting ability of an actress who sadly was over-looked as a major film star during Hollywood's golden age. The production values in this movie are very good the sets, dialog, and lighting are all top-notch although I found the music a little heavy handed."
From Prison to the Dark City. Out of the Frying Pan and Into
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 07/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Dark Corner" was released in 1946 as the film noir movement was approaching its peak. This is hard-core film noir with chiaroscuro lighting and fatalistic themes expressed through existential alienation. It is based on a short story by Leo Rosten that was published in "Good Housekeeping" magazine. Bradford Galt (Mark Stevens) has established himself as a private investigator in New York after spending 2 years in prison for manslaughter. He has hired a friendly, loyal secretary, Kathleen (Lucille Ball), and opened his doors to clients. But Galt is being followed by a man in a white suit (William Bendix). When Galt confronts the man, he caves in to a beating and spills the name of his client. The White Suit says that Anthony Jardine (Kurt Krueger), Galt's former business partner, ordered the tail. Jardine was the man who framed Galt for manslaughter. Jardine denies knowing anything about the man in the White Suit, but he is unwittingly mixed up in Galt's problem. Jardine's affair with Mari (Cathy Down), the young wife of wealthy art dealer Hardy Cathcart (Clifton Webb), is more trouble than he knows.
Bradford Galt epitomizes the film noir protagonist. He is introverted, laconic, fatalistic, paranoid, and unable to shake his past. He was locked in prison for 2 years through no fault of his own. Then he was freed into a world of amoral characters, from street thugs to erudite aristocrats, who do whatever it takes to advance their own agendas. No matter how smart he plays it, Galt has no more control of his fate than he did in prison. He sees it coming: "I got a feeling something is closing in on me. I don't know what it is." And when doom shows itself: "I feel all dead inside. I'm backed up in a dark corner. And I don't know who's hitting me." Mark Stevens has a classic deadpan delivery, but, unlike some noir protagonists, the strain shows in more than just his brow. Galt gets pretty nerve-racked. He's a steely guy, but he appreciates his smitten secretary Kathleen's optimism, practicality, and industriousness. She's a no-nonsense gal, one of film noir's many helper-heroines whose level head and objectivity bolster the persecuted protagonists.
Clifton Webb plays the same role here that he did in 1944's "Laura": a refined older man whose obsessive love for a young beautiful woman -or for her image- overcomes all reason and compels him to do anything it takes to keep her. It's too bad his lines aren't as sharp as in "Laura". But no one played this role better than Clifton Webb, so I don't suppose there is any reason he shouldn't reprise it. Fans of 1940s cinema will recognize the name of Reed Hadley in the credits. Hadley's unforgettable voice delivered the stentorian narrations on several docudramas in the 1940s. We get to see his face in "The Dark Corner". He plays police Lieutenant Reeves, who periodically checks up on ex-con Bradford Galt. I don't know why Hardy Cathcart didn't simply pay Jardine to abandon his interest in Mari. And I don't know how Cathcart would know that Jardine framed Galt. The glaring illogic in Carthcart's motivation puzzled me. But Bradford Galt's predicament is deliciously cynical, entertaining, archetypal film noir.
The DVD (20th Century Fox 2006): There is a theatrical trailer (2 ½ min) and a worthwhile audio commentary by film noir historians Alain Silver and James Ursini. The commentary is nearly constant and provides technical details, background on Mark Stevens' career, analysis of the Galt and Cathcart characters and the relationship between Kathleen and Galt, comments on merging the footage shot on the studio lot with the 2nd unit footage shot on location, the chiaroscuro lighting, contrast between lavish production design for Cathcart's world and the grittiness of Galt's world, plot, and themes. Subtitles are available for the film in English and Spanish."
G. Scot Shelley | Raleigh, NC | 12/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I became a huge film noir fan after seeing "Laura", the first in the Fox Film Noir series. Since then I've picked up all the new releases in this series religiously. I haven't been disappointed a single time. This one really surprised me. I thought I'd have trouble seeing Lucille Ball as anybody but 'Lucy' but she surprised me. I loved the plot of this movie, I thought it was one of the best film noir plots I've seen. Private eye film noirs are my favorite, and I loved the way this starts as a mystery, then slowly reveals itself as it progresses. I know it's not considered a great film noir, but I thought it was great. Some movies, no matter what other people thought of it, hit you just right. This one did."