Thursday, 4 June 2015

No.214 : Walk the Dark Street

Walk the Dark Street at the IMDb

It is important that cinema history is preserved and fine sites like Open Culture are a great resource for making available films that have fallen into the public domain. That said, for every film worth saving there are plenty best forgotten about and ‘Walk the Dark Street’ certainly falls into the latter category.

The film opens with a man walking down a dark street - can fault him for not following the title! But wait!, it’s not actually dark as he’s casting a long shadow - what a swizz. The man is nervous and throws himself to the ground when a car tyre bursts. Given he’s now lying down he takes the opportunity to go into flashback mode via the classic ‘wobbly picture’ process.

He’s now in Korea fighting in the war. He’ll be OK though as all the guns and explosion are all from stock footage. He and a few men are in a fox hole and given there have been no Koreans cast they take the time to have a bitch session. Our man, Dan, has been given a battlefield promotion to Lieutenant and this has pissed off the other candidate, Tommy, who writes to his brother to say that if he dies it will be Dan’s fault. In the very next scene Tommy is indeed killed when his runs into machine gun fire - that’ll teach them to be mean with the promotions!

Back in present day Los Angeles the now demobbed Dan pays a visit on Frank who is Tommy’s brother and recipient of the poisonous letter. He acts all friendly with Dan and even treats him and us to five minutes of stock footage of animals in Africa. He explains that he is a passionate hunter but heart trouble has curtailed his animal killing.

He has a plan though! He has invented a gun that takes photos rather than firing bullets and he proposes that he and Dan hunt each other through the streets of LA and the one who confirms a ‘kill’ by way of a photograph wins the bet. Dan is a bit hesitant but when get gets 10/1 odds on a thousand dollar bet he sees a way to clear his own bills that stem from his burnt out sports shop.

They agree to start the hunt the next day but once Dan has left Frank puts a real bullet in his gun. I don’t know why he didn't just shoot him in the house if he plans to murder him anyway, especially as he has heart trouble , but I guess there’s still 45 minutes to fill.

The hunt gets under way with Frank showing all his jungle cunning by phoning round the local hotels to see where his quarry is staying. Dan meanwhile gets hit on by a waitress whom he turns down and then by a nightclub floozy whom he goes home with. Go Dan! After a small kiss the woman reveals herself to be the dead brother’s fiancée and she knows all about the plan. She doesn't like Frank as he’s a mentalist but we’d all guessed that for ourselves.

As the two men get closer a low rent denouement awaits but I just hope there wasn't a mix up at the rain coat and bullet shop!

This was certainly a ‘B’ feature and looked more like a strung out TV episode than a feature film.

The cast of half a dozen were all pretty poor with the only recognisable face being that of Chuck Connors who played Frank. He didn't convince as the unhinged, vengeance hungry brother whose heart condition appeared to only manifest itself when he thought about hunting - running about the streets was fine!

Our hero Dan was played by Don Ross who got an ‘introducing’ credit in what was a pretty big role. Alas he didn't have anything in the way of star quality and a career of bit parts and TV work were all that followed.

There wasn't really any tension involved as the pair meandered about LA and given the only bullets fired where from the stock footage you can understand why it wasn't exactly a thrill fest.

I did enjoy the slutty women trying to woo our tightly buttoned hero but apart from the curiosity value there’s no reason to shine a light over this rightly forgotten yarn.

Best Bit : Come back to my place!

‘W’ Score 8/23

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