On Dangerous Ground
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Time Out saysA superb noir thriller with a difference. Ray's second film with producer John Houseman (the first being They Live By Night) starts off in the sinister urban jungle, with Ryan's cop increasingly brutalised by the 'garbage' he is forced to deal with. Finally, his methods become so violent that he is sent to cool off in snowy upstate New York, where his search for a sex killer brings him into contact with Lupino's blind woman and her mentally retarded brother (Williams). It's a film about the violence within us all, about the effects of environment and family upon character (Lupino, peaceful and a healing force, even has a tree in her living room), and about the spiritual redemption of a fallen man. If it sometimes seems a little schematic, there is no denying the power of the performances (Ryan in particular is ferociously effective, a true precursor to Siegel's Dirty Harry), nor the eloquence of Ray's poetic but tough direction. Aided enormously by George Diskant's high contrast camerawork and by Bernard Herrmann's stunning score, which emphasises the hunt motif in Ryan's quest, it's a film of frequent brilliance.