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"The Dark Corner"
Reviewed by: Kim Anehall
Genre: Film Noir
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 1.0
Languages English
Subtitles English, Spanish
Length 99 min
Rating Not Rated
Release Date December 6, 2005
Studio 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Commentary: “by Alain Silver and James Ursini”
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: None
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: “Trailer”
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: None
Music Video: None
Other: “Film Noir”
Cast and Crew:

Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, William Bendix, Mark Stevens, Kurt Kreuger, Cathy Downs, Reed Hadley

Written By: Jay Dratler, Leo Rosten, Bernard C. Schoenfeld
Produced By: Fred Kohlmar
Directed By: Henry Hathaway
Music: Cyril J. Mockridge
The Review:

The mood and atmosphere is everything in a film noir, and the Dark Corner encapsulates the noir next to perfection with its dark and sinister atmosphere from the opening scene. A man in a white suit is ogling a window painter applying Bradford “Brad” Galt’s sign of his newly opened private investigation firm while a police detective is suspiciously visiting the inside of Brad’s firm. Someone is watching from the outside in while another is observing from the inside out. The sense of paranoia emerges instantly, as the camera intentionally warns the audience. The question is only, from what? ***

Brad (Mark Stevens) discovers that he has a visit from a police officer, and it is not a friendly visit. It has something to do with Brad’s past. However, the story only reveals enough to increase the audience curiosity about Brad. Meanwhile, it is revealed that Brad is a lone wolf that asks out his recently employed secretary Kathleen performed by none other than I Love Lucy’s Lucille Ball. Together they wander into an arcade while the man in a white suit stalks them of which Brad is fully aware. The atmosphere of noir continues to increases in the arcade, as several elements of sleaziness together with the stalker elevates the ominous facet of noir. ***

As the story unfolds, gradually the truth about Brad becomes known, along with the true intentions of the man in the white suit. The director Henry Hathaway does a terrific job keeping the audience under suspense for a prolonged time by slowly allowing the viewer into the story. In addition, when the truth has fully revealed itself Hathaway throws a wrench into the machinery and amplifies the misery of Brad’s situation. Through the problematic situation Brad’s persona begins to break apart, as the circumstances continually get bleaker. ***

The film shows several moments with terrific scene framing, which helps bring out much of the sinister state of Brad’s life. Yet, the story keeps the audience alive through sharp and quick dialogue maintains a fascinating and almost comic appeal when Brad and Kathleen are flirting with one another. Much of the sharp lines has sexual references, but is camouflaged with baseball and domestic life analogies. There are also several strong performances, but the part that truly stands out is Clifton Webb as Hardy Cathcart. ***

The combination of the positive aspects enhances the cinematic experience, but the story is a little thin after the truth has emerged. There are also a few occasions when the story feels a little too convenient, which affects some of the noirish atmosphere. Thus, when all things come to an end, The Dark Corner leaves with a memorable visual event, but not brilliant as many other films of the genre film noir. *** ---

Image and Sound:

A decent black and white image allows the audience to fully appreciate this film noir from 1946. There are a few scratches and a little dirt, but it is to be expected from a film of this age. The audio has received an improved Dolby Digital 2.0 treatment, which makes the sound feel a little fuller, compared to the original one channel mono sound. Thus, both the sound and image improves the cinematic experience for all viewers. *** ---

The Extras:

There is only a theatrical trailer of The Dark Corner, and a section of trailer called Film Noir. In the film noir segment trailers of films such as Laura (1944), The Street with No Name (1948), and House of Bamboo (1955). ***

Commentary: Alain Silver and James Ursini liberally talks about The Dark Corner, as they are considered experts on the genre of film noir. It is obvious to the listeners that both are very serious about their interest in film, and especially film noir. The commentary is packed with anecdotal, technical, and historical facts of the film. Thus, it is a rather interesting commentary leaving viewers enlightened and encouraged to see more films from this fascinating genre. *** ---
Final Words:

The Dark Corner is not the best film noir, even though it provides a very good view of how the noir atmosphere should be illustrated. As mentioned before, the weakness rests within the story after a specific point in the film, but it still has viewing value after this point. Lastly, Clifton Webb’s performance offers additional viewing value, as there are no longer actors such as him in Hollywood, or other places in the world. ***

 

 
 
 
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