Sunday Matinee: Dark City (1950)

It’s Easter time and Danny Haley (Charlton Heston’s big screen debut) is a small time hustler and part of owner of a bookie joint that’s just been raided for the second time in three months. The cops have nothing on Danny and his partners are released. Later that night the gang spots a guy in town to buy athletic equipment for his company. The guy has a $5000 check on him and Danny comes up with a way to scam the money from him.

They invite him to a poker game where they let him win the first night. The second night they take him for everything and the check. Then things go wrong. The guy kills himself with guilt over losing the check and as an added bonus the guy has a brother named Sidney. Sidney is a psychopath who blames the gang for his brother’s death and is out to murder them all for it.

This isn’t a great film noir – the plot is actually better than the execution. The film drags down with some of it’s subplots but Charlton Heston is good and interesting to see Harry Morgan and Jack Webb working together on the wrong side of the law. Director William Dieterle was on down swing in his career by this point but while Dark City isn’t Portrait of Jennie (1948) great, it’s still pretty good.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.