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Author Topic: Appointment with Danger (1951)  (Read 60 times)
cigar joe
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« on: November 12, 2017, 12:07:44 PM »




Great opening sequence of a body disposal in the pouring rain I was hooked from the get go. Although, before you get to the story proper, you get a brief sort of rah rah, backslapping narrated infomercial, praising the US Postal Service. I guess you could say,  instead of what the french would call a "policier" its a postal.

The film can boast highly of some excellent railroad/railyard footage and copious amounts of atmospheric location work around the bleak industrial landscapes and brownfields of the Gary Indiana smelters and steel mills.

The director was Lewis Allen who has a string of Noirs to his name, (Desert Fury (1947), So Evil My Love (1948), Chicago Deadline (1949) Suddenly (1954), Illegal (1955)) before segueing into TV in the 1960s. The cinematography was by John F. Seitz (Double Indemnity (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945), Chicago Deadline (1949), Sunset Boulevard (1950), and Rogue Cop (1954)). The music was by Victor Young (Gun Crazy (1950)).






George Soderquist (Morgan) and Joe Regas (Webb)

Here is a film, that's off most film noir favorite lists that for noir junkies, really delivers. Again, it's got an opening hook that instantly grabs, a cast of characters that all ooze cinematic memory, a Director and DP who make the most out of Iconic decaying Midwest landscapes, and a great story.

Before Jack Webb, and Harry Morgan, were respectively Sgt. Joe Friday and his partner Officer Bill Gannon, They played a couple of shit heels named, Joe Regas a weasley eye-ed, loose cannon creep, and his pal in crime George Soderquist, a diabetic, slow witted, melancholic goon. The Hotel Compton "Gary's Finest,"  Regas has just murdered, by strangulation in his own bed, a snooping postal inspector in Gary, Indiana, who was getting to nosey about a million dollar mail heist. With George's help the two go out in the pouring rain to dispose the body.

With George and Joe you get the types of characters always played by Elisha Cook Jr., doubled. Webb is a vicious skinny scarecrow of a guy, who wears clothes that look one size too big and who talks tough to offset his runt of the litter appearance. Morgan is a bit more fragile, sentimental and given to regrets about the past. A lifetime loser who just wants to score big one time.


Sister Augustine (Phyllis Calvert) and George

They drive to La Porte, to the deserted downtown. They find an alley and are getting ready to dump the body when the spot a young nun. Sister Augustine (Phyllis Calvert) heading their way. A gust of wind has jammed her umbrella. George goes to help and to also kind of steer her away. He wants to make sure she doesn't see the body that Joe is propping up against the car. She does notice though, and asks George what's wrong. He tells he that their friend is just a little drunk and needs some air. As soon as she gets out of sight they drop the body in on the pavement and split.


Al Goddard (Alan Ladd)

Alan Ladd is Al Goddard, a USPS special investigator sent to Gary, Ind., to solve a postal detective's murder. He's a tough postal cop with a reputation amongst his fellow inspectors for being stubborn and a loner . His quick retorts are of the 10 minute egg variety, i.e., very hard boiled:

Al Goddard: You can rob Fort Knox and live, but steal a dime and kill a post office man, and they'll spend a million and a lifetime lookin' for you.

Maury Ahearn: You don't know what a love affair is.
Al Goddard: It's what goes on between a man and a .45 pistol that won't jam.

Sister Augustine (Phyllis Calvert) is the sole witness. She agrees to look through police mug books. With her aid Ladd learns the identity of the men and uncovers the gang's plot to pull off a million-dollar mail heist. Goddard later poses as a corrupt inspector, and gains the confidence of the killers' honcho Boettiger (Paul Stewart). Boettiger is the slimy flea bag Hotel Compton's owner/manager.
Boettiger has worked out a plan to steal one million dollar transfer that is being transported between two trains by a U.S. Postal Service truck which is protected by just one man and his .45 during a seven minute drive between the two stations.

Paul Stewart excels in these types of roles, he played a couple of tenement dwelling lowlifes memorably, murdering Joe Kellerson in The Window (1949), and sleazeball track bettor, Mr. Craig in Edge Of Doom (1950), he played creepy mob boss Carl Evello in Kiss Me Deadly (1955).


Earl Boettiger (Paul Stewart)

Once the gang discover the deception, the villains take Goddard and Sister Augustine prisoner. Jan Sterling plays gang leaders flakey, floozy, jazz loving girlfriend Dodie La Verne. Dodie is into Bop Jazz, and it provides the opportunity for Goddard to make some quips.

Al Goddard: Bop? Is that where everybody plays a different tune at the same time?
Dodie: You just haven't heard enough of it.


Dodie La Verne (Jan Sterling)

This film was Jan Sterling's first noir from this meager start she went on to play in Caged, Mystery Street, Union Station, her memorable turn as Lorraine Minosa in Ace In The Hole, Split Second, The Harder They Fall, Slaughter On 10th Avenue, and in one ot the last B&W noirs 1967's The Incident.


Noirsville













The film also stars Stacy Harris, David Wolfe, Dan Riss, Geraldine Wall, and George J. Lewis. A Paramount Pictures Production, filmed in Fort Wayne, La Porte, and Gary Indiana, also in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Very enjoyable romp through Noirsville 8/10.

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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2017, 12:15:57 PM »

I have the movie and like it too. Time for a rewatch. It has a good supporting cast, especially Paul Stewart, one of those faces that pop up in many 50s crime movies.

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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2017, 12:41:55 PM »

I have the movie and like it too. Time for a rewatch. It has a good supporting cast, especially Paul Stewart, one of those faces that pop up in many 50s crime movies.

I like Alan Ladd in this better than in This Gun For Hire, The Glass Key and The Blue Dahlia.

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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2017, 09:27:32 PM »

A bit too routine in my book, but above average for sure >

Police Seek Nun As Witness In Downtown Slaying!

Appointment with Danger is directed by Lewis Allen and written by Richard L. Breen and Warren Duff. It stars Alan Ladd, Phyllis Calvert, Paul Stewart, Jan Sterling, Jack Webb, Stacy Harris and Harry Morgan. Music is by Victor Young and cinematography by John F. Seitz.

Al Goddard (Ladd) is a U.S. Postal Inspector sent to investigate the grim murder of one of his colleagues. There's a witness to locate and possibly protect, a nun, Sister Augustine (Calvert), and soon enough Al has to go undercover as a crook to infiltrate the gang responsible for the murder. Not only that, but they plan to steal one million dollars being transported by the U.S.P.S., clearly Al has a lot on his plate.

Alan Ladd's last film noir (though it barely qualifies as such) is good entertainment that relies on hardboiled speak more than it does action or mystery. A great opening involving the murder is kind of a false dawn, in that the mood and visual strengths on show here are rarely reproduced during rest of pic. However, that is a small complaint in truth because it's so much fun to be around Ladd's Al Goddard.

We quickly learn that he is basically a great cop but not much of a human being, since we know who did the murder from the off, we have to rely on Goddard's undercover operation for our suspense quota, which comes in spades. Goddard is constantly at threat of being exposed, he has to consistently think on his feet, have a quip or yarn to spin to deflect suspicion, so this keeps things spicy in the story.

The strand involving Calvert's nun is a weak one, it's clearly a narrative device to smooth out Goddard's rough edges, but it never really works and that the writers turn her into a dumb ass late in the play is annoying. Another irritant is that Sterling (wasted) as Paul Stewart's (good villain value as usual) moll really doesn't impact on proceedings, she wanders in and out of the film promising to be a femme fatale, but it never happens and after playing out as a weak red herring she exits with a whimper.

Some smart location work is on show, with the backdrop of pool halls and cheap hotels utilised to good effect by Allen and Seitz, and a couple of scenes really sock the jaw; literally in one case! But it never rises above being a routine cops and robbers based homage to the U.S.P.S. Inspectors. Thankfully Ladd is on form and delivers the best parts of the screenplay with a steely cold sharpness that positively tickles the fancy of noir lovers. 6.5/10

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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2017, 09:28:52 PM »

I like Alan Ladd in this better than in This Gun For Hire, The Glass Key and The Blue Dahlia.

Yikes! C.J. in need of a CAT Scan!

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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 04:11:09 AM »

Yikes! C.J. in need of a CAT Scan!

I'm not much of a Ladd fan sorry.

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