1950 / 82 min / b/w
Dir. John Farrow / Scr. Charles Bennett / Cine. Nicholas Musaraca
Cast: Robert Mitchum, Faith Domergue, Claude Rains
Streaming access courtesy of Swank
Attendees can stream Where Danger Lives for free over two days as part of the Dr. Saul and Dorothy Kit Film Noir Festival. The viewing window for this film begins Saturday, March 13 at 12am ET and ends Monday, March 15 at 12am ET. Click “Tickets” to register and receive a confirmation email, which will include the link and password to the film. You will receive a reminder email when the film's streaming window begins.
We suggest streaming the films on a laptop/desktop computer using Chrome or Firefox (Safari is not supported). For those viewing on an iPhone or iPad, download the Swank Media Player before starting the film here.
Co-presented by the Film Program and Office of Public Programs and Engagement at Columbia University School of the Arts; and Columbia Global Centers.
Watch Matthew Rivera’s (CC ’18) introduction below.
A couple on the run barrels toward Mexico, their only hope for escape, in Where Danger Lives, a long-overlooked noir potboiler from RKO Pictures. The film arrived with considerable pedigree when it hit theaters in 1950: it starred budding screen icon Robert Mitchum and co-starred a once-again-cuckolded Claude Rains (Notorious); it was shot by veteran cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca, who lensed the Mitchum hit Out of the Past three years prior; and it was written by Charles Bennett, who by 1950 had written seven of Alfred Hitchcock’s features. Despite the prominent names on both sides of the camera, Where Danger Lives did poorly at the box-office and has received little attention since (you’ll find it on few, if any, streaming services).
Though no long-lost masterpiece, Where Danger Lives offers a hearty serving of noir comfort food. Mitchum’s character appears drunk and/or concussed for a majority of the film, which makes the role an ideal one for his signature sleepy eyelids and baritone drawl. Amid the slow-drip tension, Bennett’s script delivers a sly critique of American capitalism at its most unscrupulous. His protagonists encounter a series of swindlers on their journey to liberation who either bleed them dry or offer them protection...for a steep price. If the U.S.-Mexico border represents escape for the characters of Where Danger Lives, Bennett never lets us forget the impossible, ultimately unpayable price tag for such freedom.