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On Dangerous Ground Blu-ray Review

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“On Dangerous Ground” is a unique film noir.

Directed by Nicholas Ray (of “Rebel Without A Cause” fame), “On Dangerous Ground” is essentially 2 movies in 1. The first half revolves a tough-as-nails NY cop (Jim Wilson) who is a bit of a loose canon in that he doesn’t trust anyone and only cares about his work (and getting answers). In the “second movie,” we find Jim being taken off the streets to the snowy country in upstate NY where he and a desperate father (Walter) of a victim are searching for a killer. Their journey leads them to the house of a kind hearted blind woman (Mary) who we later learn his harboring a secret. While all of this is going on, a romance begins to bloom between the normally hardass Jim and the compassionate Mary.

On paper, “On Dangerous Ground” seems like a surefire hit. It stars veterans Robert Ryan, Ida Lupino, Ward Bond, it’s directed by Nicholas Ray, it’s scored by the legendary Bernard Hermann, and it’s a dark and gritty film noir that doesn’t play like the average film in the genre. As it turns out, all of this mixes quite well and proves to be a fascinating noir/character piece.

What really appealed to me about “On Dangerous Ground” is that it starts out dark but actually ends in a pleasant manner. Usually, film noir titles do not turn out well for the main characters and, in fact, only get darker with each passing minute. With ‘Ground,’ however, it turns out that it’s a rather hopeful film about compassion. It’s the story of a hardened brute whose heart is essentially opened up by a woman/love interest that he meets. It’s never presented in a sappy manner nor does it come off as phony thanks to the performances by the underrated actors Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino. Another unusual aspect of ‘Ground’ is that it dramatically switches settings. You think it’s going to be a city noir at the start but it moves to the country and becomes something else entirely. You really don’t see this type of story (especially back in 1951) so it feels very refreshing to see on screen.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? The transfer of this B&W classic offers stunning clarity.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A quality 2.0 track.

Extras: “On Dangerous Ground” trailer and a scripted, stilted but informative commentary by film historian Glenn Erickson.

 

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February 8, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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