Dangerous Crossing – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Professional Ingenue Jeanne Crain boards a ship with her new husband, and then misplaces him in Dangerous Crossing. When newlywed Ruth Bowman (Crain) begins the search for her missing bridegroom, she discovers that no one else seems to be aware of his existence. His luggage is missing, he’s not on the passenger list, and no one can remember seeing him. Is this the work of a massive conspiracy, cloak and dagger spy stuff, cheeky shenanigans, or has Ruth descended into a spiral of madness?

Helping her along the way (but is he really?) is the ship’s doctor, played by thin British actor Michael Rennie (television’s Harry Lime). Rennie is best known as Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still, and his understated charm plays well off of Crain’s lovably psychotic melodramatic tendencies.

Rounding out the cast are Carl Betz of The Donna Reed Show as the vanishing husband, Casey Adams (nee Max Showalter) as the suspicious Jim Logan, Lifeboat‘s Mary Anderson as the suspiciously friendly Anna Quinn, and Perry Mason regular Willis Bouchey. In addition to Dangerous Crossing, Betz, Adams and Crainne would also star together in Vicki that same year.

Dangerous Crossing was directed by Joseph M. Newman, who would go on to direct This Island Earth. It was written by Leo Townsend (who also worked on Vicki) and based on a radio play by mystery master John Dickson Carr. The film was remade as Treacherous Crossing a tepid 1992 Movie of the week starring Lyndsay Wagner and Angie Dickenson.

The film is full frame black and white, the way god intended film noir to be. It sounds fine.

The DVD has all the extras it really needs. Dangerous Crossing was a studio system mass production number, made on the cheap, in 19 days, 55 years ago.

The DVD offers us an insightful commentary by film historian Aubrey Soloman. Soloman points out which sets were recycled from Titanic, which were stolen from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and he dishes on some decades old gossip.

The disc provides us a short “Making of” featurette, still galleries, and the original theatrical trailer. It also contains an Isolated Score track, and one of those “Interactive Pressbooks” that Fox like to put on their film noir releases.

If you are a fan of old fashioned mysteries, I’ve-lost-my-traveling-partner films noir, Jeanne Crain, or Vicki, then Dangerous Crossing should be right up your alley. It’s got an intriguing plot, and a brisk 77 minute run time. More important than all that though is KLAATU.

Every movie should have Klaatu. (This is admittedly difficult since Michael Rennie has been dead for nearly 40 years.)

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Twentieth Century Fox presents Dangerous Crossing. Directed by Joseph Newman. Starring Jeanne Craine and Michael Rennie. Written by Leo Townsend (based on Cabin B-13 by John Dickson Carr). Running time: 77 minutes. Not rated. Released on DVD: March 11, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.

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