|MAN IN THE DARK (THE MAN WHO LIVED TWICE) (director: Lew Landers; screenwriter: George Bricker/Jack Leonard/William Sackheim/from the 1936 film written by Tom Van Dycke and Henry Altimus; cinematographer: Floyd Crosby; editor: Viola Lawrence; music: Ross DiMaggio; cast: Edmond O'Brien (Steve Rawley/James Blake), Audrey Totter (Peg Benedict), Ted de Corsia (Lefty), Horace McMahon (Arnie), Nick Dennis (Cookie), Dan Riss (Jawald), Dayton Lummis (Dr. Marston), Paul Bryar (Freddie -- Bartender), Mickey Simpson (Flannagan -- clinic orderly), Shepard Menken (intern), John Harmon (Herman), Ruth Warren (Mayme); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Wallace MacDonald; Columbia Pictures; 1953)|
low-budget, B-film crime drama, shot in 3-D."
by Dennis Schwartz
low-budget, B-film crime drama, shot in 3-D. Under
the unimaginative direction of Poverty Row filmmaker
Lew Landers ("Torpedo Alley"/"Jungle Jim
in the Forbidden Land"/"Inner Sanctum") the pic had no
chance of working. It's a remake of the Ralph Bellamy
1936 vehicle The Man Who Lived Twice, which was
written by Tom Van Dycke and Henry Altimus.
Writers George Bricker, Jack
Leonard and William Sackheim fail to get the film
noir tone of the story and waste the talents of an
iconic film noir cast. The pic is watchable because
O'Brien gives his bewildered character some juice
and the finale roller coaster ride provides some
Career criminal Steve Rawley (Edmond
O'Brien) is serving a ten-year
sentence for robbing on Christmas Eve a factory
payroll of $130,000. Though the money has not
been recovered, Steve volunteers for experimental
brain surgery by Dr. Marston (Dayton
Lummis) and as a result his criminal
instincts are surgically removed and he receives a
parole. Unfortunately he loses his memory. Steve, now
called James Blake, is pursued for the payroll money
by the persistent insurance investigator Jawald (Dan
Riss) and Rawley's robbery gang--Lefty (Ted de Corsia),
Cookie (Nick Dennis), Arnie (Horace McMahon).
The gang kidnap Rawley while he's recovering in the
clinic, and hold him in their apartment while they
grill and beat him. Also there is his heart-of-gold
gun moll girlfriend Peg (Audrey Totter),
who tries to rekindle her love connection with him.
become less fuzzy when Steve dreams of stashing the
loot in an amusement park by the Pacific Ocean Park
Pier, in Long Beach, California, and discovers while
on the run from the cops he put the dough in a candy
box and checked it into a spot that holds baggage.
With the dream as a clue, Steve and Peg escape from
the apartment, but are followed by his former
cohorts. Peg leaves Steve when his old criminal
instincts return and he wants to flee the country
with the stolen money and not start life anew with
her as a straight couple. But the operation works,
as in the last minute Steve returns to Peg and hands
the money over to the creepy insurance investigator
(who knew Steve was being beaten by his former
cohorts but offered no help).
If we took this stupid pic seriously, we would have such a surgical program ongoing in all our prisons.
REVIEWED ON 4/6/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ