Dangerous Film Details
Overview: An alcoholic actress who is considered a dangerous jinx is rehabilitated, but she then shows that she’s as dangerous as ever.
Tagline: An alcoholic actress considered a dangerous jinx is rehabilitated but shows she’s as dangerous as ever.
Review: DANGEROUS (Warner Brothers, 1935), directed by Alfred E. Green, may not have become an above-average Bette Davis drama by today’s standards, but it did become the first of two feature films to win Bette Davis the Academy Award as Best Actress. While Davis’ performance as the unsympathetic Mildred in OF HUMAN BONDAGE (RKO Radio, 1934) starring Leslie Howard should have at least earned her a nomination for her standout performance, many claimed Davis got the award for DANGEROUS as an oversight from the earlier film. Regardless of how Davis won for DANGEROUS, it slowly but surely paved the way for better acting roles ahead, and her second Academy Award win for JEZEBEL (1938) and other nominations that were to follow. DANGEROUS opens in a crowded New York street where Roger Farnsworth (Walter Walter) notices Joyce Heath (Bette Davis) passing by in an alcoholic haze. Going inside for cocktails in a gathering of men consisting of Charles Melton (George Irving), Reed Walsh (William B. Davidson), Don Bellows (Franchot Tone), and later Pitt Hanley (Richard Carle), a discussion occurs to whatever happened to Joyce Heath, a once popular leading actress of the Broadway stage. It is learned that the downward path for this now down-and-out actress started when her leading man died, followed by a series of other unfortunate circumstances to label her a “jinx.” Don claims he owes a lot to Joyce Heath for his profession as a successful architect. Later that evening, Dan, along with Gail Armitage (Margaret Lindsay) his socialite fiancée, and close friend, Teddy (Dick Foran) have an evening on the town before Dan has Teddy escort Gail home so he could attend to the drunken Joyce Heath, whom he had noticed earlier in a dive of Jerry’s Joint surrounded by an assortment of cheap drinks. After passing out while acting out her role from “Romeo and Juliet,” Don takes her to his Old Quinn farmhouse in the country where he and housekeeper, Widow Williams (Alison Skipworth), look after her. Regardless of Mrs. Williams labeling this poor unfortunate girl as “Dangerous,” Don does everything in his power to help her, regardless of her outbursts. During the course of time, Don breaks his engagement to Gail so he could spend more time helping Joyce break her “theatrical superstition.” He arranges for her to star in “But to Die,” an upcoming play for producer, George Sheffield (Pierre Watkin). Dan even finances $80,000 of his own money to do it. All goes well until Dan proposes marriage to Joyce and later finding she being in a serious car accident with a strange man (John Eldredge) reportedly connected to Joyce’s mysterious past. Of the five 1935 film releases to star Bette Davis, DANGEROUS is certainly a worthy offering next to BORDERTOWN opposite Paul Muni. Aside from OF HUMAN BONDAGE, DANGEROUS marked the official start to what would develop into the Bette Davis method of acting. Her opening scene where she denies ever being Joyce Heath remedies that, along with her alcoholic binges that followed. It’s no doubt the transformation where her Joyce character realizes her self-destruction and destruction to others around her was enough for honor Davis as being the second actress to win the Academy Award for playing an actress, in this instance, on stage as well as off. Franchot Tone, on loan from assignment from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (and second for Warners), Tone sets the tone as one out to help a woman wanting no help from him or anyone. Tone even goes through similar defeats as Leslie Howard did in OF HUMAN BONDAGE where Joyce tells him how she really feels about him, through wording strong enough to cause hard feelings. Aside from the frequent underscoring to the recent song, “Mine, Alone” that was introduced by Everett Marshall in I LIVE FOR LOVE (1935), the scene that stands out most during its 78 minutes is where Joyce drives a speeding automobile into a tree in the middle of a country road in order to settle a score. This highlight alone was later clipped and profiled into a document tribute to Warner Brothers thirties films of “The Movie Crazy Years” (1971). As with most successful films, DANGEROUS served as the basis for a semi-remake titled SINGAPORE WOMAN (Warner Brothers, 1941) starring Brenda Marshall. As with most remakes, it failed in comparison. Formerly distributed to video cassette and available on DVD, DANGEROUS, which seems to improve with repeated viewings, can be seen and studied whenever broadcast on the Turner Classic Movies cable network. (***)
Country: United States
Duration: 79 min
Genre: Drama, Romance
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