Movie Review 2008 #42: Dangerous Crossing

Another descent into film noir, starring Jeanne Crain, Paul Betz and Michael Rennie

Crain stars as Jeanne Crain Ruth Stanton, now Ruth Bowman. Recently married in a whirlwind courtship and sudden marriage to Betz’ John Bowman, the newlyweds are going to celebrate their new marriage with an impromptu cruise. Mr. Bowman has made all of the last minute arrangements, and everything seems perfect as the couple boards the ship.
When John disappears shortly before the ship sails, howeverm things take a turn for the worse for Ruth. What’s more, the stateroom she and John reserved is empty, she has no ticket of her own, and there seems to be no evidence of John on board whatsoever. The crew is justifiably suspicious of her and her story.
Did she imagine her marriage? Is she crazy? Are the phone calls she is getting from John, hiding on the ship real, or all a part of her delusion? Or is something even more sinister going on? Michael Rennie plays Paul Manning, the ship’s doctor, and possibly the only person that Ruth can trust…or can she?
Dangerous Crossing is a great example of 50’s film noir. Crain plays a convincing protagonist, whetber or not we believe what is happening to her is real, or all in her mind. Her performance could easily have gone into histronics; Her performance, however, is nuanced, engaging and solid. Dangerous Crossing films her well and keeps our interest in her plight and her struggles to find out what is really happening. Rennie does well as Dr. Manning, the person who seems to be the only person on Ruth’s side as the convoluted series of events unfolds. The rest of the cast does fine by the movie as well.
It’s not a major work of Film Noir from the period, but its a good representative sample of what the genre is like (with more than a touch of Hitchcock to the plot). This new DVD release shows how beautifully the movie was originally filmed; the cinematography is technically excellent and enhances the viewing experience.
I liked it.