Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dangerously They Live

I made a brief mention of the film Dangerously They Live last August. It's not out on DVD, but is on the schedule tomorrow at 11:45 AM, so this is your chance to watch it.

Nancy Coleman plays Jane, a woman who's been working for the British secret service in the US. One day, she's bundled into a car by a bunch of Nazis, but the car gets into an accident and she winds up in the hospital. Doctors diagnose a case of amnesia when Jane can't seem to remember anything, and this particularly excites young Dr. Michael Lewis (John Garfield), as he's got an interest in amnesia cases. At this point things take a bizarre twist: Jane tells the good doctor that she's faking the amnesia, because she's a secret agent and the Nazis are after her! Who would believe a story like this? Anyhow, while the doctors are trying to figure out what the truth is, the Nazi agents show up. They've found out where she's hospitalized, and claim to be her family. That story of her being chased by Nazis? Well, that's just crazy talk caused by the accident. Dr. Lewis isn't so sure, so he calls up his former professor, Dr. Ingersoll (Raymond Massey) to ask for advice.

What Dr. Lewis doesn't know is that Dr. Ingersoll is also a Nazi agent! Ingersoll comes up with a devious plot to dispose of both of them by having Dr. Lewis accompany Jane to her "family's" house to continue consulting on the case. It's at this point that Dr. Lwis begins to discover the truth. Having a bunch of guards who won't let you leave the house by yourself to go into town will do that to a person, I suppose. Jane, and he, are really in grave danger! Can he stop the Nazis in time? Considering that this was made in 1942, after the US got pulled into World War II, you have to expect that the answer is yes: Hollywood would never let the Nazis win.

Dangerously They Live is in some ways a very predictable movie. Since it's about the Nazis, you have clearly defined bad guys, and clearly defined good guys, and you know the good guys are going to win. That having been said, it's still an interesting movie. John Garfield is not the sort of person you would expect to see cast as a doctor. But Garfield is a good enough actor that he's reasonably believable. The fact that he's a junior doctor also helps. The rest of the cast is serviceable. And while I've said that the film is predictable, it's still reasonably entertaining.

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