Dark City (1950)

Film Review

DARK CITY

Release Date: 17 October, 1950

Studio: Paramount

Director: William Dieterle

Starring: Charlton Heston, Lizabeth Scott, Don DeFore, Mike Mazurki

Synopsis

Heston runs a bookie operation that is shut down by the police. He and his partners have only a small amount of money. When Heston meets DeFore, who is carrying a check for $5000 from his athletic club, he brings DeFore to play poker with his partners. One of Heston’s partners cheats and DeFore loses the money. He returns to his hotel and hangs himself. A day later one of Heston’s partners is killed. DeFore’s protective older brother (Mazurki) has learned the reason for his suicide and plans to kill the gamblers. Despite his precaution, the second partner is also killed. Heston tries to elude the killer by going to Las Vegas, but the brother learns where he is and follows him. Heston is nearly strangled before the police arrive to save him.

Discussion

In his first starring role, Charlton Heston shows why he rapidly reached stardom. With his intense look and distinctive voice, his screen presence is forceful. Lizabeth Scott’s character, a cafe singer who will do anything for Heston, is weak and clinging. Her screen time is limited. As if to make up for her lack of dialogue, she sings about five songs. Slowly paced, but once the menace of the murderous brother is established, the tension is palpable and well maintained.