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On Dangerous Ground


In this jolting, unconventional noir thriller, co-directed by Nicholas Ray and Ida Lupino, a bitter big city cop is sent upstate to cool off and investigate a small-town murder, leading him to a fateful confrontation with a local blind woman and his own dark heart.
In On Dangerous Ground, Robert Ryan (in a fierce performance) stars as rough city cop Jim Wilson, a New York detective on the edge, hardened and embittered by his years of dealing with the lowest forms of criminal life the city has to offer. For his own good, Wilson’s police captain assigns him to a murder investigation in the snowy countryside. While searching for a mentally-disturbed killer, Wilson meets the suspect’s sister, Mary Walden (Ida Lupino, in one of her finest performances), a compassionate blind woman who is protecting her brother and who just might turn Jim’s life around. But the townsfolk, led by a murdered girl’s father (Ward Bond), are out for blood, and as Jim and Mary are drawn together in a tangle of violence and hysteria, what begins as a ferocious thriller becomes an almost mystical meditation on loneliness and redemption. This unusual snow-bound noir features a savvy script by A.I. Bezzerides, a frenetic score by Bernard Herrmann, and taut, striking direction by Nicholas Ray and Ida Lupino, who took over (uncredited) directing duties when Ray suffered a reported nervous breakdown during filming. (Dir. by Nicholas Ray & Ida Lupino, 1951, USA, 82 mins., Not Rated)

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