Titus Techera, who hosts a podcast for the American Cinema Foundation on which he and his guests discuss important films of the past and present, invited me back to talk about Nicholas Ray’s On Dangerous Ground on his latest episode. Our hour-long chat is now available on line.
Titus and I spoke at length and in detail about the 1951 film, produced by John Houseman, which starred Robert Ryan, Ida Lupino, and Ward Bond, was written by A.I. Bezzerides and Ray, and features a sublime musical score by Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Hitchcock’s close collaborator. While it was only modestly successful on its original release, On Dangerous Ground is now widely regarded by English-speaking critics as one of Hollywood’s film-noir masterpieces.
Here’s part of Titus’ summary of our conversation:
Nicholas Ray’s On Dangerous Ground, the best Robert Ryan noir…moves between social criticism and romanticism effortlessly, the tragic story of a man who believes in justice and who learns to believe in innocence, too. We talk about the many attractions of the movie—Ida Lupino, the Bernard Herrmann score, George Diskant’s cinematography, Ward Bond’s remarkable portrayal of a father mad to avenge his daughter’s murder—and we also talk about noir, genre pictures, social criticism, how America learned about tragedy in World War II, and the new depth of character in story-telling this ushered in.
To listen to or download this episode, go here.
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The original theatrical trailer for On Dangerous Ground:
A scene from the film, featuring Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino and scored by Bernard Herrmann. The viola d’amore heard on the soundtrack is played by Virginia Majewski: