• Appointment With Danger

    Released By: Olive Films
    Released On: December 23, 2014
    Director: Lewis Allen
    Cast: Paul Stewart, Alan Ladd, Jack Webb, Phyllis Calvert, Henry Morgan
    Year: 1951
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    The Film:

    When the strangled body of Postal Inspector Harry Gruber is found in an alleyway, and the only potential witness to the crime is a nondescript nun, the Chicago Division of Postal Inspectors sends the best man they've got to solve the crime; the tough-talking, hard-as-nails Al Goddard (Alan Ladd). And while Goddard's methods of suspect interrogation may be questionably brutal to some, his track record of intuition and TCB speaks for itself.

    Putting together the most basic of clues at the Gary, Indiana crime scene, Goddard jumps a train to Fort Wayne where he finds Sister Augustine, who is easily able to pick one of Gruber's assailants out of a book of mugshots, pointing Goddard to George Soderquist (MASH's Harry Morgan). But after losing his police tail and a bronzed baby shoe mishap, the trail on Soderquist goes cold, simultaneously bringing out his accomplices in an attempt to silence the Sister before she can identify them as well.

    Narrowing down the possibilities and exploring all of the leads (and sweating a few suspects along the way), Goddard discovers that Gruber's death is tied to corruption within the Postal Service, the organization he has pledged his allegiance to. And with his integrity on the line, as well as the good Sister's life, Goddard's only option is to infiltrate the gang of criminals responsible for the corruption to uncover one of the biggest heists in the history of the Post Office.

    While it most definitely wouldn't be considered a Film Noir by the classic definitions of the purists, Appointment With Danger has a ton of the trademarks that make the genre such an enjoyable watch; tough characters with tough lines ("You need a new mouth! POW!"), smoky pool halls, backseat cab conversations, rear projection, and real glass water cooler bottles...oh, and busty dames. Ladd carries the film well, even if his attempts to blend in with the bad guys stretches the limits of believability, and a stellar supporting cast; Jack Webb, Phyllis Calvert, and Paul Stewart to name a few; make every scene a pleasure to watch.

    While the film's plot line does seem a little cookie-cutter, director Lewis Allen sidesteps over any boredom by keeping the film moving, framing the shots beautifully, and if he can be given credit, prompting some pretty great performances. Editing is tight, the score is perfectly suited, and the stock footage/Postal Service commercial that starts the film off is a good indication of the enjoyment to follow. Appointment with Danger is a whole lot of fun.


    Olive Films brings Appointment With Danger to blu-ray in a nice looking 1.33:1 transfer that is well-suited for the material. Black levels are good for the most part, with a decent level of detail. While the picture is pretty clean, it doesn't seem to suffer from any DNR; grain is what it should be. For a 60+ year film, it looks great, and the slightly worse-for-wear stock footage at the beginning definitely shouldn't be taken as indicative of the video quality throughout.

    The audio track is a DTS-HD MA mono track, and it sounds perfect, with very little hiss or scene-change pop that sometimes occurs in older films. Dialogue is crystal-clear for those great one liners, and balance between the spoken word and the rest of the soundstage is consistently solid.

    There are no extras to be found on the disc.

    The Final Word:

    Aside from the barebones aspect, Olive has put out a solid release. Put aside the Noir vs. Heist vs. Whatever genre argument and enjoy Appointment With Danger for what it is; a damn fine film.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!