Where Danger Lives (1950)

Where Danger Lives (1950), directed by John Farrow.

Doctor Robert Mitchum shouldn't have fallen for attempted suicide patient Faith Domergue, and definitely shouldn't believe her when she says she wants to get away from her "father" Claude Rains. (That was an awkward moment). When they are on the run he has suffered a concussion and is no longer thinking clearly. His mentally unstable lover will have to guide them across the border to Mexico.

What looks like a standard RKO noir thriller turns into something more offbeat. Mitchum is not a tough guy and he is not in charge after getting hit on the head. He is probably dying. Their paranoia about getting caught leads them far astray: "The wicked flee when no one pursues".

We also have bitterly comic segments, as when he is apprehended during a "Western Days" celebration for not having a beard. Quirky characters keep getting in their way and they are at the mercy of criminal low-lifes.

Subtract the unnecessary final minutes happy ending and we have an rather good "we're screwed" noir genre plot.

Mitchum had great range but was seldom called on to use it.

Domergue was a Howard Hughes protege.

Claude Rains has only one scene but is, as always, excellent. The essential actor.

Photographed by the great Nicholas Musuraca. Roy Webb score.

Available on DVD with a commentary track by two film scholars who take it very seriously.