Classic movie site with rare images (no web grabs!), original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
grbrpix@aol.com
Search Index Here




Thursday, July 20, 2017

An RKO Cast Talks Things Out


Trouble Among Privileged in Dangerous Corner (1934)

Disgrace, suicide, maybe murder, dredged from beneath upper-crust for an RKO cocktail hour that, surprisingly for me, gripped all the way to a low-key finish. There is such thing as saying too much where silence will serve better, the theme (and a good one) of this 66 minute exchange where questions probe ever deeper and confessions are drawn from party guests better off living with their illusions. There's always hint of real life in even silliest old films, here being occasion where curiosity kills a roomful of cats. Dangerous Corner was based on a J.B. Priestly play, he of The Old Dark House fame; according to Wm. K. Everson notes, there wouldn't be another Priestly adaptation after this one (does that still hold true?). Players are equal to heavy dialogue lift, Conrad Nagel particularly good, with Melvyn Douglas making early and vivid impression. You'd barely know it from the title and luxury settings, but Dangerous Corner is about the publishing business, and effort to keep the firm in question from "going smash," that term oft-used in wake of the Crash. Unfairly tagged as "teacup drama," Dangerous Corner rises above convention to become a real sleeper of its kind. Not yet at Warner Archive, but shows up on TCM occasionally.

5 Comments:

Blogger John McElwee said...

Dan Mercer also saw "Dangerous Corner," and likes it:


“Dangerous Corner” is one of those movies that mirrors the time in which it was made. During the Depression, the affairs of people or companies or communities might still have seemed bright and shining on the surface, when it fact they were seriously undermined and almost anything might cause a collapse.
In this story, the people involved are apparently happy in their relationships and successful in life, yet a chance remark concerning the disturbing death of a friend and colleague reveals the rifts beneath the surface and the adulterous and criminal affairs some have engaged in. It ends catastrophically, except that a grace note is added as a post script, of what might have been had the remark never been made. Life then would have gone on very much as before, the people trying to make the best of their lives and to behave decently towards one another, without the necessity of having to resolve problems that may be insoluble.
As you say, a film with this kind of insight into the human condition could hardly be a “teacup drama,” and the acting is equal to the challenges of the story. Conrad Nagel usually seems a bland and unexciting leading man, but that placid surface is well used for a character with questions he has no real desire to explore. Melvyn Douglas’ skill at comedy has obscured how adept he was at drama, when a light way with a word gives it a sardonic edge, while Virginia Bruce is all but forgotten today, but was a soulful beauty who could illuminate any dialog with a glance of those great eyes.
I wonder how many in the audience then found comfort in the idea of what might have been, before they returned to the darkness gathering about their own lives in those troubled times.

10:44 AM  
Blogger b piper said...

"... according to Wm. K. Everson notes, there wouldn't be another Priestly adaptation after this one (does that still hold true?)."

I don't get this. I could think of half a dozen off the top of my head, and the IMDB lists 125 movies and TV shows based on Priestley's work, all but three coming after DANGEROUS CORNER.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Well, for one thing there is the remake of The Old Dark House. But I would count An Inspector Calls and Last Holiday as at least moderately well known films, starring Alistair Sim and Alec Guinness respectively.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

I used to pride myself on remembering every movie I ever saw, but ever since getting TCM seven years ago, I find myself going through the monthly schedule and thinking, "Did I see this already?" I often remember it by the first scene, and sometimes the opening credits. "Dangerous Corner" is one of those "did I or didn't I" pictures. Does anyone else have that problem?

2:10 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

A fascinating example of RKO's willingness to experiment under then-production chief Pandro S. Berman. OF HUMAN BONDAGE was another risk-taker of the same time. Thanks for another thought-provoking piece, John!

4:25 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

grbrpix@aol.com
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • July 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • December 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011
  • May 2011
  • June 2011
  • July 2011
  • August 2011
  • September 2011
  • October 2011
  • November 2011
  • December 2011
  • January 2012
  • February 2012
  • March 2012
  • April 2012
  • May 2012
  • June 2012
  • July 2012
  • August 2012
  • September 2012
  • October 2012
  • November 2012
  • December 2012
  • January 2013
  • February 2013
  • March 2013
  • April 2013
  • May 2013
  • June 2013
  • July 2013
  • August 2013
  • September 2013
  • October 2013
  • November 2013
  • December 2013
  • January 2014
  • February 2014
  • March 2014
  • April 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • July 2014
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • December 2014
  • January 2015
  • February 2015
  • March 2015
  • April 2015
  • May 2015
  • June 2015
  • July 2015
  • August 2015
  • September 2015
  • October 2015
  • November 2015
  • December 2015
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016
  • October 2016
  • November 2016
  • December 2016
  • January 2017
  • February 2017
  • March 2017
  • April 2017
  • May 2017
  • June 2017
  • July 2017
  • August 2017
  • September 2017
  • October 2017