Appointment With Danger Blu-ray review
APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER opens with the feel and tone of an industrial film, detailing the impact, significance and hustle and bustle of the United States Post Office, one of the busiest environments in the country. Behind it, the narration continues, is the nation’s oldest police force, the Postal Inspection Service. “This is an account of one of those postal inspectors on a routine assignment.”
The mood is immediately shifted. The room is dark and the rain beats down on the city streets. A man sleeps in bed, unaware a man is holding a rope above his head. In the background, a sign reading “The Friendly Hotel” lights up the alley. The kidnappers toss the man in the trunk and head out of Gary, Indiana to dump the body.
Assigned to the case is inspector Al Goddard (Alan Ladd, who starred in some of the finest film noirs, including 1946’s Raymond Chandler-penned THE BLUE DAHLIA), who has the reputation of not knowing how to treat people. As a colleague puts it, “You don’t like anybody, you don’t believe anybody, you don’t trust anybody.” (In other words, he’s a typical noir protagonist.) Goddard starts his investigation tracking down Sister Augustine (Phyllis Calvert, 1947’s TIME OUT OF MIND), a nun who witnessed the crime. It only gets deeper when, by no coincidence, he finds her in Gary. Shortly after, a plot to steal $1 million is revealed and Goddard plans to go undercover and bring down the man behind the heist, Earl Boettiger (Paul Stewart, 1949’s TWELVE O’CLOCK HIGH).
Goddard puts together much of what he needs to find and know without many obstacles, which makes the viewer wonder, is Gary, Indiana’s crime circuit that easy to figure out or is Goddard that good at his job? These don’t seem like questions the viewer is supposed to be asking and so they may get the impression that the screenwriters just didn’t elaborate enough on the character or setting.
Lewis Allen’s (1944’s supernatural classic THE UNINVITED) APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER runs into a number of issues in pacing and character development, but they don’t strangle the film, since there is plenty of good material otherwise. Richard L. Breen (1953’s TITANIC, which won him an Academy Award) and Warren Duff’s (1938’s ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES) screenplay offers a number of quick exchanges and one-liners fit for the genre (“You look as if you just lost your best friend.” “I’m my best friend.”; “You can rob Fort Knox and live, but steal a dime and kill a post office man, and they’ll spend a million and a lifetime looking for you.”), and the look is down pat, with key scenes taking place in dark hotel rooms and smoky pool halls.
A fun surprise for pop culture fanatics is the appearance of Jack Webb and Harry Morgan as two of Boettiger’s henchman, an amusing addition since Webb and Morgan would both go on to play two of television’s most memorable cops, Sgt. Joe Friday and Office Bill Gannon, on the 1967-1970 version of DRAGNET.
Video: 1.33:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Purists will appreciate the look of this high-definition transfer, which maintains the grain (although it is distracting at points, particularly towards the beginning). Contrast is also strong and the black levels are deep.
Audio: English Mono DTS-HD Master Audio. The dialogue is clean and the soundtrack sounds quite nice.
There are no special features on this release.