On Dangerous Ground
Dir. Nicholas Ray. 1951, 82 mins. 35mm. With Robert Ryan, Ida Lupino. Split between the darkest of dark cities and the whitest void of snowbound countryside, On Dangerous Ground is a visually striking illustration of noir’s universality. Robert Ryan wrings lonely anguish from the role of a violent, rage-filled cop sent away from his natural habitat in the asphalt jungle to assist with a rural manhunt. In Ida Lupino’s gentle blind woman he finds the possibility of redemption, but Nicholas Ray’s tragic vision of wounded and estranged souls is greater than any tidy resolution. Here, he maps this vision onto the American landscape, finding in its vast spaces not freedom but isolation.
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