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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dark City (1950)

A solid, well done thriller with noir touches. After a group of crooked gamblers (Charlton Heston, Jack Webb, Ed Begley) con a family man (Don DeFore) out of $5,000, that wasn't his to begin with, in a poker game, he commits suicide. When one of the gamblers turns up murdered, it's clear that someone is out to get revenge on the men. Veteran film director William Dieterle keeps everything driving forward at a taut pace and always keep the audience tightly in his grip. This was Heston's first big break in the movies and he already seems to have a strong sense of his physical personage so it's interesting to see him evolve from a conscienceless punk into a frightened man desperately trying to stay one step ahead of his killer. Lizabeth Scott, never much of an actress in the best of circumstances, is dull as the nice girl carrying a torch for Heston. She was always more interesting when playing bad girls. With Viveca Lindfors in fine form as the suicide's widow, Dean Jagger as the police captain attempting to catch the avenging killer, Harry Morgan and Mike Mazurki.

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