This is a relatively forgotten Nicholas Ray film, but like many of his films, it tells the story of the lonely, isolated, troubled, forgotten individual. Robert Ryan plays a hard-edged city police detective that gets results through brutal interrogation violent, lawless short-cuts to capture dangerous criminals. Bernard Hermann, used by Hitchcock and other great directors, provided the musical score and notice how it greatly enhances the suspense scenes.
Another worthy entry from the ever-interesting Nick Ray, starring America's least appreciated great leading man, Robert Ryan, as well as the incredible Ida Lupino.
Ryan is a burned out big city cop who has been warned against his penchant for beating up suspects in his custody. When it happens yet again, his big boss--in a remarkable display of deference that in our time would be reserved only for our corporate masters--exiles Ryan to the snowy countryside to work on a missing person's case. How this would work jurisdictionally is never explained, but it does give our hero a chance to lock horns with the estimable Ward Bond, playing the victim's father, a rural type disdainful of the city cop.
Ryan also meets the blind woman played by Lupino--sister of the suspect. Her scenes with Ryan are marvels of sensitivity and the subtle grace of two expert actors working in harmony.
Ryan's exposure to the blind woman affects a thorough change in the cop, into a caring, tactful fellow.
Yet he must also deal with Bond, whose murderous rage must remind him of what he is trying to escape. An interesting subtext for me was the off-screen contrast bbetween the two: Ryan a Dartmouth grad and committed liberal (and college heavyweight boxing champ); Bond an arch-conservative like his friend John Wayne, a journeyman actor, not particularly educated.
But both were pros and the personal animosity that seems apparent on the screen ultimately goes into the service of a greater cause: an excellent, surprisingly undated film.
Although this 1951 film starts out firmly in film noir territory (tough cop in the dirty city chases a fugitive to the country), it's really a melodrama disguised as a crime film, and a rather heavy-handed, sentimental one at that. Perennial tough guy Robert Ryan is good as the cop who softens when he meets the fugitive's sister, a blind woman played by Ida Lupino. Lupino, who was also in the manhunt movie "High Sierra," was a rarity in Hollywood, as she also directed (see "The Hitch-Hiker"). "Rebel Without a Cause" director Nicholas Ray is behind the camera, but this is not one of his better films. John Ford regular Ward Bond chews some scenery and Hitchcock regular Bernard Hermann does the music. Also see "They Live By Night" and "The Set-Up."
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