The Dark Past

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Cast against type, Holden's the ringleader of a gang which takes over shrink Cobb's lakeside retreat while they await their getaway in this competent remake of the 1939 Chester Morris picture Blind Alley. The twist, and it's not altogether convincing, is that Cobb uses his professional insights into his captor's personality profile to turn the tables, with much pop pyschology along the way. One's not absolutely flabbergasted to learn that it all started life as a stage play.

By: TJ

Release details

Duration: 75 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Rudolph Maté
Screenwriter: Philip MacDonald, Michael Blankfort, Albert Duffy
Cast: Lee J Cobb
William Holden
Nina Foch
Adele Jergens
Stephen Dunne
Lois Maxwell
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This is so tedious that I began to notice Lee J Cobb's hairpiece (he was bald from the age of 25) and wondering if he would fling it off in protest at the pop psychology platitudes he was forced to mouth. The film only comes to life after the opening voice-over when we see Holden and cohorts in the getaway car prior to the all-too predictable hostage situation. The recreation of the events that caused his recurring dream might nudge you awake again towards the end, but it's too little too late.