Also known as: Terror
Release Date: December 1st, 1949
Directed by: Felix E. Feist
Written by: Dick Irving Hyland, Hugh King
Music by: Paul Sawtell
Cast: Michael O’Shea, Virginia Grey, Charles McGraw
RKO Radio Pictures, 66 Minutes
“Remember, I have to live with my conscience.” – Detective Ray Williams
The Threat isn’t a well known film-noir but anything made by RKO in the noir style is always worth a look.
It’s a quick 66 minute film that moves at a rapid pace and is fairly high octane for the era. It really doesn’t relent, due to it’s scant running time and it felt like it was over in the blink of an eye.
The story is about a homicidal maniac who breaks out of prison and starts kidnapping those he deemed responsible for his imprisonment: a cop, a district attorney and a nightclub singer who is believed to be the rat.
The film has a lot of angles and the narrative plays out nicely even if it felt somewhat underwhelming by the end.
As far as the production, it is fairly pedestrian. The acting, directing and cinematography are all pretty average. And even though the setup was really good and got me hooked, that first act of the film is really the high point.
Now I did enjoy Paul Sawtell’s score. But he always provided good music for the films he worked on.
The Threat isn’t very memorable but it isn’t a bad way to spend 66 minutes.
Pairs well with: any crime thriller film-noir from RKO that feels more like a B-movie than a big studio production. That’s not a diss, as some of these films are great.
Trailer located here, as it’s only available on TCM and I can’t embed those videos here. You should fix that, TCM.