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Despite a screenplay by Hitchcock collaborator Charles Bennett and direction by John Farrow (The Big Clock), Where Danger Lives (1950) is a weak film. Robert Mitchum plays a doctor who saves a would-be suicide, then falls for her without noticing she's crazy as a loon, and homicidal to boot. Soon they're on the run, sought by the law and at the mercy of every larcenous character between them and the Mexican border. Despite yeoman work by Mitchum and RKO shadowmaster Nicholas Musuraca, and the too-brief participation of Claude Rains, the film founders on the femme-fatale casting of Howard Hughes discovery Faith Domergue. A more memorably dodgy female complicates everybody's life in Tension (1950), the next-to-last Hollywood film for director John Berry before his blacklisting. This one's played by Audrey Totter--never a major star, but a delicious and definitive late-'40s dame. Her milquetoast husband, pharmacist Richard Basehart, sets up a second identity for himself under which to seek revenge for her numerous infidelities--till the new man he has become makes the acquaintance of neighbor Cyd Charisse. (No, Charisse does not dance, but those awesome legs are nevertheless put to creative use.) Eventually someone is dead, and cops Barry Sullivan and William Conrad enter the picture, contributing their own shades of gray to the noir palette. Another satisfying, little-known film ripe for discovery.

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WA115028 Where Danger Lives/Tension DVD (1950/1949/Robert Mitchum/Richard Basehart) $17.99