Man In The Dark (1953)

Film Review


Release Date: 8 April, 1953

Studio: Columbia

Director: Lew Landers

Starring: Edmund O'Brien, Audrey Totter

Related Discussion Topic: 3D

Read a short discussion on 3D Film in our Topics section.


Small time hood and robber, Steve Rawley, is operated on by Dr. Marston to remove part of his brain and erase his memory, reduce his aggressive nature and eliminate his criminal tendencies. Rawley changes from a combative and unpleasant personality into a friendly and gentle man. During his recovery, his criminal associates spot him outside the hospital and kidnap him. Rawley and the other men had robbed a payroll, and he had hid the money. His associates want their share and try to get him to reveal where he hid it. His girlfriend, Peg Benedict, is with them, but she is more interested in reuniting with Rawley than in finding the money. Of course, he cannot remember the robbery or what he did with the money. The only clue is a piece of paper that was attached to the bottom of a drawer at his old lodgings. The number 1133 is written on the paper, but Rawley does not know what the number means.

Because Rawley is a convicted criminal and was not permitted to leave the hospital, the police want him, as does the investigator for the insurance company. Slowly, Rawley starts to remember the past. He has a dream in which he is at an amusement pier, and his girlfriend is operating an amusement game. He wins the game, and she gives him a big box of candy. He escapes with his girlfriend, and they proceed to the amusement pier. His criminal associates and the insurance investigators follow. Rawley realizes that the number 1133 refers to a parcel left at a storage facility on the pier. The parcel contains the money. His associates chase him onto the roller coaster where one of them falls to his death. The police capture his other associate. Peg convinces Rawley that he should return the money.


This film is a fast-paced, entertaining thriller. Sturdy acting by Edmond O'Brien, Audrey Totter, and Ted deCorsia, cinema stalwarts, maintains the sense of tension and uncertainty. The most interesting aspects of the film are its 3D effects. A tree projects out of the hospital grounds in the opening shot. During the operation, the audience is amused as the surgeon's instruments project off the screen. The rooms and hallway of the criminal's apartment extend behind the characters. At the amusement park, bumper cars and the roller coaster seem to fly into the audience.