A Dangerous Profession (1949)

A Dangerous Profession (1949)

An Ordinary Noir

George Raft in A Dangerous Profession (1949)

Having once been a cop Vince Kane (George Raft) left the precinct and went in to business with Joe Farley (George Raft) as bail bond brokers. As a favour to one of his old buddies, Lt Nick Ferrone (Jim Backus), Vince goes with him to search the home of brokerage clerk Claude Brackette (Bill Williams) who is suspected of being involved in a robbery which resulted in the death of a policeman. To Vince's surprise he discovers Lucy (Ella Raines), a former lover, there who since he last saw her has become Mrs. Brackette. Despite Joe's unease Vince helps the struggling Lucy to put up the bale for her husband but then things become even muddier when Claude is murdered and Vince discovers he was connected to a night club owner by the name of Jerry McKay (Roland Winters).

I mentioned a scene in that brief synopsis of "A Dangerous Profession" where Vince discovers that Lucy, a former flame, is connected to a man involved in a crime and this scene speaks volumes of the movie. Why? Well it is over staged; from the way Lucy looks on a couch to the way the usually rock faced Joe looks at seeing a woman who you know right off the bat that he still carries a torch for. It is certainly a good looking scene, classic in its construction, but has that look of being over constructed and it is the same throughout the rest of "A Dangerous Profession" with scenes where the camera is looking up at Vince whilst he stands imposingly still like a rock seeming painfully unnatural. It ends up being a distraction as the noir style of "A Dangerous Profession" appears to have been more important to director Ted Tetzlaff than the actual story.

Ella Raines in A Dangerous Profession (1949)

That leads me to the acting and sadly either because he couldn't do anything else or was directed to act in such a way George Raft comes across like a piece of wood. From the way he walks to the deliberate head movements which appear even more pronounced due to him normally being so stiff and statue like it simply is wrong and ends up another visual distraction. It is the same with everyone around Raft as they seem to be overly stiff in the scenes they share with him which when you take the attractive Ella Raines causes her casting to seem more a case of the fact she was beautiful with piercing eyes rather than because she played the part well.

Now you maybe thinking what about the story and in truth I left it to last because it turns out it is the least important aspect of "A Dangerous Profession" which of course is wrong. It is a case of being a by the book crime story with are investigator Vince caught in between a dame and a crime with his partner thinking he has had his head turned by a beautiful woman. Typically it features some plot holes but most importantly it isn't overly exciting and is pretty much a plod to the end as it works through a list of noir cliches including accents and dialogue which at times make it seem a little like a noir spoof.

What this all boils down to is that "A Dangerous Profession" is not a very good movie and whilst it might be of interest to those with an interest and passion for film noir will most likely end up stiff and uninteresting for those seeking some movie entertainment.

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