This Woman is Dangerous (1952) Felix E. Feist
This Woman is Dangerous should probably be retitled This Woman Is Under Contractual Obligation as it was Joan Crawford’s final film for Warner Bros. (Her next movie would be the independently produced noir Sudden Fear.) This is far from Crawford’s best work (even she dismissed it) but it does have a few things going for it.
Crawford plays Beth Austin, the head of a group of criminals including brothers Matt (David Brian) and Will Jackson (Philip Carey) who pull hold-up jobs, sometimes by imitating police officers. Beth informs Matt – who’s also her lover – that she needs an eye operation and must travel from their base of operations in New Orleans to a surgeon in Indianapolis. She warns them to behave themselves and not pull any jobs while she’s gone. Yeah…
Are we surprised in the least that Beth falls in love with her surgeon Dr. Ben Halleck (Dennis Morgan)? Are we surprised that Matt hires a private investigator (Ian MacDonald) to check up on Beth? Most of the script is ridiculous, the depth of the characters rarely dips below, say, an eighth of an inch, and practically everyone in the film goes out of their way to comment on Beth’s beauty. (Maybe Crawford scribbled that into all the scripts?) Yet the film does have a few good noirish scenes and a memorable moment outside a women’s prison.
Maybe Crawford was simply rehearsing for another “woman going blind” role 20 years later with Steven Spielberg for the 1969 horror anthology TV movie Night Gallery?
Despite the many faults of This Woman is Dangerous, I can’t bring myself to give it less than three stars. Hey, it’s noir, it’s Joan Crawford, and it’s Warner Bros. You could do a lot worse.
Next: Mickey Rooney drives like a maniac.
Photos: A Joan Crawford Encyclopedia