Thursday, September 03, 2015

Tonight's Movie: A Dangerous Profession (1949)

A DANGEROUS PROFESSION (1949) is a middling crime film, with a weakly scripted story balanced by a strong cast.

Vince Kane (George Raft) is a bail bondsman asked to bail out the husband (Bill Williams) of his old flame Lucy (Ella Raines). Lucy can't come up with the entire amount needed, so Vince and his reluctant partner Joe (Pat O'Brien) cover the balance of the bail money, due to Vince's loyalty to Lucy.

Lucy's husband then disappears, and it's at this point things get murky, with various people plotting, following one another, and exchanging money. Maybe I was tired, as it's been a busy few days, but I got a mite confused! Fortunately the movie is just 79 minutes long so it pulls together the loose ends fairly quickly.

While Raft is his usual stolid, not especially interesting self, I enjoyed the supporting cast. O'Brien is underused but brings needed energy to each of his scenes playing opposite Raft. Raines, sporting a less becoming hairstyle than usual, mystifies the audience for much of the film as to whether she's a good woman or femme fatale.

Vince and Joe's cop friend on the force, Nick, is well played by Jim Backus. Roland Winters, David Wolfe, Betty Underwood, and Robert Gist round out the cast.

A DANGEROUS PROFESSION was directed by Ted Tetzlaff, who had previously directed O'Brien in the excellent RIFFRAFF (1947). It was filmed in black and white by Robert De Grasse. Some brief shots of L.A. locations during a chase scene late in the film are a plus.

This RKO film is available on DVD in the Warner Archive Film Noir Collection. It's a nice print.  I rented the DVD from ClassicFlix.


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