Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday's Forgotten Films: One Way Street Starring James Mason and Dan Duryea

This tough, little 1950 film noir was directed by Hugo Fregonese and stars James Mason, Märta Torén, and Dan Duryea. William Conrad also plays one of the hoodlums with uncredited appearances by Jack Elam (near the beginning) and Rock Hudson (near the ending). Most of the action occurs south of the border in ole Mexico. Dan Duryea plays a criminal chieftain who with his gang has ripped off 120 grand stashed in a black satchel. James Mason is a corrupt doctor who patches up the gangsters when they get shot like Cannon in the opening scenes. The gorgeous Torén is Duryea's girl until we find out she's worked an inside angle with Mason to swipe the 120 grand and flee for Mexico in a plane. Along the way, they experience engine problems and make a forced landing in a rural village. Mason and Torén find its lazy pace and remote location suit them well to hang out there. Of course, Duryea can't be double-crossed and is gunning for the two blissful lovers talking about marriage. The talented Torén was billed as the "Next Ingrid Bergman" until a cerebral hemorrhage tragically ended her life at age 31. The film was largely panned at the time of its release, but I liked it a lot. It's a treat to see film noir standards Duryea and Cannon act together in a movie. One Way Street is one of those solidly done films noir that has been largely neglected.