Monday, April 11, 2011

Joan is Dangerous

In 1952, Joan Crawford closed out her Warner Brother's contract with This Woman is Dangerous. Beth Austin (Ms. Crawford) is the leader of a gang that pulls major heists.  Their latest involves the robbing of a casino.  She controls her henchmen (David Brian and Philip Carey as Matt and Will Jackson), but Beth has a problem - she is going blind, and needs immediate surgery to prevent it.  She heads to the hospital of Dr. Ben Halleck (Dennis Morgan), the only physician capable of performing this delicate surgery.  And, of course, she falls in love with him.

The commentary provided by Robert Osborne in the introduction informed us that Crawford's considered this her worst film.  It is rather silly, but certainly not the worse thing SHE had ever done.  She's actually pretty good in it.  We did find Philip Carey (as Will) rather amusing.  His bug-eyed mania was VERY overstated, from an actor we've always found to be rather an UNDER-actor.  Ditto David Brian.  This is not the acting one would expect from the person we had so recently seen in Flamingo Road. He's really over-the-top crazy in this.

We enjoyed Dennis Morgan (also at the end of HIS contract with WB), but the actor who was a breath of fresh air was little Sherry Jackson as Susan Halleck, Dr. Halleck's young daughter. Crawford seems so comfortable with the child; she becomes easier and happier in the scenes with her.  On top of all the sturm and drang of the soap opera plot, the innocent home-life of this little girl considerably lightens up atmosphere.

Here is an interesting scene from the later part of the film.  It won't give away any plot, but it does show Crawford when she is nails the scene (plus some wonderful cutting on the part of the editor, James C. Moore:


We're not sure if we would recommend this, but it is has its moments. So you might want to give it a try. If only to see the one Joan Crawford loathed!!

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