Oldies But Movies: Walk the Dark Street
Movie Lover: Christopher Coffel
BEAVERTON, OR US
-- February, 13, 2014
Whether you’ve seen THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME or not you’ve probably seen some variation of the story somewhere. Maybe it was a different movie or a TV show or a book, but odds are you’ve seen it. You know the story I’m talking about. A big game hunter who has hunted everything you can possibly think of and now he’s bored. He wants something new to hunt, something that is more of a challenge. He wants to hunt man.
1956’s WALK THE DARK STREET is a very interesting and fun variation on this story that I had not seen before. Written and directed by Wyott Ordung this lean film-noir has Chuck Connors playing the role of Frank Garrick, our hunter. The difference here is that Frank doesn’t just want to hunt man, he wants to hunt one man in particular. That man is Dan Lawton (Don Ross), who Frank feels is responsible for the death of his younger brother, Tommy (Eddie Kafafian).
Tommy and Dan served in the war together. Dan was the platoon leader and Tommy was none too happy about that. To show his displeasure, he often times didn’t listen to Dan which eventually resulted in his death in battle.
After the war Dan decides to track down Frank to tell him about his brother’s passing. Frank invites Dan into his home for a drink and the two begin chatting it up, eventually moving their conversation to that of hunting. This is when Frank presents his idea to hunt man.
Naturally Dan is in shock, but once Frank explains that he’s invented a camera gun and the purpose of this hunt wouldn’t be to kill man, but just to take a picture to prove he can hunt man, Dan begins to come around. Frank offers Dan a bet – they each hunt one another for two days in the streets of LA. If Dan wins, Frank will give him $10,000. Dan happily accepts, not knowing that Frank holds him responsible for the death of his brother.
Our hunt begins.
This whole opening is about the first twenty minutes or so of the movie. The remember 50 is a cat-and-mouse game as Dan and Frank both patrol the streets of LA searching for one another. One man has murder and revenge on his mind, while the other just sees an easy chance at some quick money and the opportunity to get out of debt.
Because the movie is only around 70 minutes and we in the audience know Frank’s motive, the entire hunt is quite tense. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time as Frank and Dan narrowly avoided one another.
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