Appointment with Danger – Alan Ladd’s last encounter with his beloved noir genre – is an erratic hit-and-miss showcase, which strikes as a picture both fairly suspenseful and too underdeveloped in its narrative structure. Though it has its few entertaining moments of ravishing intensity, Appointment with Danger is a rather forgettable flick that creates a disadvantage out of its overly routine approach to the subject.
The film focuses on Al Goddard (Alan Ladd), a special investigator for the US post office, who is called in to investigate a mysterious murder of his fellow co-worker. What starts off as a rather superficial intrigue with a lovely nun in the middle of the whole action, soon turns into a deadly intrigue concerning a group of greedy, handy thugs and a huge sum of money. In order to reveal their plan, Goddard poses as a witty crook who also wants to put his hands on the cash. While trying to infiltrate the gang and discover what the scheme is about, he communicates with the police and takes care of the nun, who is now in grave danger, as she’s the only suspect in the aforementioned murder case. During the last, most decisive moments of the intrigue something goes wrong, and Goddard is forced to rely only on his own cunning. The movie concludes with an intense and climatic shootout in a quiet industrial district.
The most fascinating thing about this film is its cast. Apart from Alan Ladd as the protagonist, Lewis Allen cast Jack Webb and Harry Morgan as the ruthless murderers. The future stars of the TV series Dragnet bring a lot of joy to the cinephile’s heart with their dark and nasty portrayals of two guileful schemers.
Overal, Appointment with Danger might not be film noir finest example, yet it still aspires to be a reasonably thrilling picture, which makes a good use of its stellar cast and moody cinematography. Though unsuccessful when it first came out, it will please all the genre fans.