Combustible Celluloid
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With: Alan Ladd, Phyllis Calvert, Paul Stewart, Jan Sterling, Jack Webb, Stacy Harris, Harry Morgan, David Wolfe, Dan Riss, Geraldine Wall, George J. Lewis, Paul Lees, Sid Tomack, Murray Alper
Written by: Richard L. Breen, Warren Duff
Directed by: Lewis Allen
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 89
Date: 05/09/1951

Appointment with Danger (1951)

3 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Olive Films has happily ended up with a whole bunch of Paramount's back catalog titles, and even if none of them (so far) are terribly major films, it's good to have them around.

Directed by Lewis Allen (The Uninvited, Suddenly), Appointment with Danger was Alan Ladd's final film noir. He plays Al Goddard, a postal inspector sent to Gary, Indiana to solve the murder of a fellow officer. The only witness to the murder is a scrappy nun, Sister Augustine (Phyllis Calvert), to whom Al feels especially protective. Unfortunately, he must go undercover to catch the bad guys, and finds himself going along with a plan to rob a million bucks from post office; each time he manages to risk his life to pass on any information to his colleagues, the bad guys change their plans again. Finally, of course, Sister Augustine comes into play for a tense showdown.

British-born director Allen will never achieve the ranks of the great directors, but he was pretty good at these sporadic genre films; they were sharp and fast, economic and entertaining. Perhaps Ladd is the real selling point here. He was a fairly big star at the time, and he seems to have been forgotten in recent years. It's good to see him in action here, playing a tough guy without trying too hard; he has a hint of a soft underbelly, as shown in the scenes with the nun.

Trivia nuts will notice that Jack Webb and Harry Morgan are both here as criminals, and they would both go on to fame as partner cops on the TV series "Dragnet."

Olive Films followed up their early DVD release with a 2014 Blu-ray edition, with spiffy new cover art.

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