ON DANGEROUS GROUND
1951, Warner Bros., 82 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Violent, embittered metro cop Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan) gets sent upstate to cool off and investigate a small-town murder probe. The search leads him to a fateful confrontation with local blind woman Mary (Ida Lupino, magnificent) and his own black heart. Sterling contributions all around: writer A.I. Bezzerides’ savvy script, Ray’s vigorous direction and location shooting, Bernard Herrmann’s alternately brassy and soft score and Ryan’s ferocious performance make this one of the genre’s most affecting statements about anger and alienation in the big city.


KING OF KINGS
1961, Warner Bros., 168 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Director Nicholas Ray and epic producer Samuel Bronston seemed an odd couple, but the pair made this reverent, straightforward portrait of the life of Christ work on its own terms. Filled with moving performances by Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus, a potent, often mysterious messiah, and Robert Ryan as John the Baptist, with support from Siobhan McKenna, Rip Torn, Royal Dano, Harry Guardino, Viveca Lindfors and others. Meticulous and spectacular production design augments the realism, while Orson Welles’ narration adds storybook charm. Originally played at the Egyptian Theatre!


A WOMAN’S SECRET
1949, RKO [Warner Bros.], 88 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Consider it a film noir version of ALL ABOUT EVE. A famous singer (Maureen O’Hara) who’s lost her voice shoots her protégé (Gloria Grahame) in a fit of rage. As the young woman lies dying, flashbacks recount the tawdry saga of their backstage relationship. The Herman Mankiewicz script is no CITIZEN KANE, but he brings nasty wit to this adaptation of Vicki Baum’s novel. The terrific supporting cast features Melvyn Douglas, Victor Jory, Bill Williams and J.C. Flippen. Don’t miss the chance to see one of Nick Ray’s most rarely screened films! Not on DVD!


Syndicate content