On Dangerous Ground (1952)

  • TCM has told us so many interesting things about this movie in its intro!
  • Even though A.I. Bezzerides gets the screenwriting credit, most of it was actually written by Nicholas Ray.
  • Before making the movie, Ray did some observing of plainclothes policemen in Boston.
  • The scenes of violence in this film really anticipate the way violence is handled in hundreds of Angry Police movies that have come afterwards.
  • Bernard Hermann did the music for the movie, and his subbing of brass for (the much more expected) strings here predates the hugely famous stuff he did for Hitchcock in VERTIGO (1958).
  • That point ^ becomes marvelously clear within the first 30 seconds of the movie. Outstanding!
  • The first 25 minutes (one-fifth) of this movie take place at night. Certainly sets the tone for the rest of it.
  • Having spent one evening in the life of Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan), I have one thing to say to him:

“You need to find yourself a girl, mate.” — Captain Jack Sparrow (POTC: TCOTBP, 2003)

  • Wilson: How do you live with yourself?

RoundCop: I don’t – I live with other people.

> There is an extremely valuable nugget of wisdom stored within this exchange. Bravo.

  • Captain Brawley (Jim’s Boss) is a fantastic name for a police captain. I bet he has brother named Captain Fightey and Captain Wrestley. Baha!
  • “Then make up your mind to be a cop – not a gangster with a badge.” — Captain Brawley (Ed Begley)
  • Music in the first snow chase scene = Brilliantly composed.
  • I told you that all Jim Wilson needed to do was find himself a girl – now he’s blocking other people from brutality! Look at him!
  • There are some super visually striking images in the second half of this movie, with the snow, landscape, clouds, and mountains in the distance. Makes a super memorable setting for a noir.
  • This had a way less bleak and depressing ending than I was expecting from a Nicholas Ray noir.
  • Which, TCM just told me, is because it was tacked on after the fact, because everyone thought the original ending (Mary (Ida Lupino) flat out rejecting Jim Wilson right after Danny (Sumner Williams) dies, instead of letting him into her house, and then Jim Wilson returning to the “dirty city” and his dirty old ways) was a bit too rough, even for a noir. So, fun fact – Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan pretty much did the last scene by themselves, because (predictably) Nicholas Ray wanted no part of it.
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