GenreCrime, Drama, Film-Noir ScreenplayJohn Meredyth Lucas CountryUnited States
Release dateOctober 17, 1950 (1950-10-17TUnited States) Based onthe story "No Escape"
by Larry Marcus WriterJohn Meredyth Lucas (screenplay), Lawrence B. Marcus (screenplay), Ketti Frings (adaptation), Lawrence B. Marcus (story) CastCharlton Heston (Danny Haley / Richard Branton), Lizabeth Scott (Fran Garland), Viveca Lindfors (Victoria Winant), Dean Jagger (Capt. Garvey), Don DeFore (Arthur Winant), Jack Webb (Augie) Similar moviesWild Card, Casino Royale, Runner Runner, Dr. No, The Big Sleep, The Gambler
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Dark City is a 1950 American film noir crime film directed by William Dieterle starring Charlton Heston in his screen debut, and produced by Hal B. Wallis. The film features Lizabeth Scott, Dean Jagger, Jack Webb and Harry Morgan. Webb and Morgan both went on to co-star in the popular police drama television series Dragnet. Heston made his first professional big-screen appearance in the movie, having starred in two amateur college films a decade before. In interviews much later, he would refer to Dark City as "definitely not an 'A' picture, but a pretty good 'B'."
A group of hustlers take a man for $5000 in a poker game. When the man ends up killing himself, the heat is put on the gamblers in the game. The dead man's vengeful brother begins picking off the gamblers one by one.
Charlton Heston as Danny Haley/Richard Branton
Lizabeth Scott as Fran Garland
Viveca Lindfors as Victoria Winant
Dean Jagger as Capt. Garvey
Don DeFore as Arthur Winant
Jack Webb as Augie
Ed Begley as Barney
Harry Morgan as Soldier
Walter Sande as Swede
Mark Keuning as Billy Winant
Mike Mazurki as Sidney Winant
When the film was released, film critic for the New York Times, Bosley Crowther, applauded the work of newcomer Charlton Heston but panned the film, writing:
A new star named Charlton Heston — a tall, tweedy, rough-hewn sort of chap who looks like a triple-threat halfback on a midwestern college football team—is given an unfortunate send-off on the low and lurid level of crime in Hal Wallis' thriller, Dark City, which came to the Paramount yesterday. Apparently Mr. Heston, who has worked for the stage and video, has something more than appearance to recommend him to dramatic roles. He has a quiet but assertive magnetism, a youthful dignity and a plainly potential sense of timing that is the good actor's sine qua non. But in this 'clutching hand' chiller, he is called upon to play nothing more complex or demanding than a crooked gambler marked for doom.
In 2004, film critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a mixed review, writing:
Veteran director William Dieterle (The Devil and Daniel Webster) has been dealt a bad hand by the weak script, but the talented cast play out the hand as best they could ... The dark mood is set by Victor Milner's excellent B&W photography. Heston's finely tuned nuanced performance, as a guy gone bad but who can be saved by love, gives the melodrama enough film noir qualities to get over but not enough to relieve it of its tedium.