Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Man in the Dark

I just watched one of the more impressive stunt sequences I've seen in a while. Three dudes chasing a fourth all over the tracks and beams of a running roller coaster. They did some wide shots of things like one dude standing on the far hill and another dude standing on the next closest hill. The roller coaster train came around the bend and both of the dudes had to clmb over the side to get out of the way. They climbed all over the struts--impressive lifting skills. The whole thing started off with the main character, running away type stunty standing up in the roller coaster train car at the top of the first hill and hopping out before the train fell. Quite impressive. Although the stunties all had fifty or so pounds less meat than the actors they doubled. But you know how it goes.

It featured in a movie called Man in the Dark, a film noir flick released in 1953. It starred Edmund O'Brien--an actor I now feel is under appreciated. The story is O'Brien's character, Rawlings, undergoes a surgery to remove his criminal tendencies. Instead, the surgery removes everything except his criminal tendencies. He has no memory. Then it turns out that he led a caper with a 130,000 dollar payout. Now half a dozen different dudes are on his trail and he can do nothing to help them.

The movie is woefully not as good as its premise. I really quite like the idea, and the execution very nearly went off well. It fell short. I almost turned it off a few times. Now I'm glad I didn't because the stunt sequence took place near the end.

This movie goes on the list of quite good flicks to watch on a Mystery Science Theater night. Once you got the premise pretty much every twist and turn ended up being exactly the twist and turn you thought, and no one in the movie seemed much surprised by that either. It's a pretty film, worth watching for the interesting faces and the semi-trippy visuals. What anyone is saying turns out to be pretty irrelevent.


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