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Down Three Dark Streets Film Review

Updated on September 8, 2017
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Louise is a film enthusiast and enjoys films particularly from the 40's and 50's era & enjoys writing about films she has seen.


Film Information

Director: Arnold Laven

Producers: Arthur Gardner, Edward Small

Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Genre: Drama, Crime

Distributed by: United Artists

About the film

When FBI Agent Zack Stewart is brutally murdered, Agent John 'Rip' Ripley takes over his cases, in the hope of tracking down his murderer. Zack was working on a car theft case when he gets a call about the shooting of a gas jockey. Then he gets a call from a woman called Kate Martell who calls the FBI telling them she is being threatened by someone. The person on the other end of the telephone tells her that they will kidnap her daughter if she doesn't pay them the $10,000 of her husbands insurance. Ripley's boss, Frank Pace, thinks that one of these cases is related to Zack's murder, so assigns him the case of investigating Zacks murder.

So it is up to John and his team to investigate each of these crimes and try and work out if it the case that one of these crimes is related to Zacks murder. What we see is a film gripped with suspense and drama. Filmed in black and white, I feel this adds to the dark tones that can be found throughout the movie. Marisa Pavan plays Julie Angelino, the blind wife of Vince, who is in jail serving time for car theft. Although she believes her husband is innocent of any wrong doing, she willingly helps the FBI with their questions when they pay her a visit. Ruth Roman who plays Kate Martell also has a big part in the film with the fraud case. Both of the female roles are strong characters in very different ways.

At the start of the film there is a narrator telling you a bit about the case. The narrator is William Woodson. And throughout the film the narrator will talk giving a description of what is going on and what is about to happen. William has a deep, forth-right voice. I quite like this in the film as it adds to the dimensions and gives the film a bit of a darker feel. He comes across as assertive and speaks clearly and concisely.

The characters in the film

Ruth Roman
Kate Martell
Martha Hyer
Connie Anderson
Broderick Crawford
FBI Agent John Ripley
Marisa Pavan
Julie Angelino
Kenneth Tobey
FBI Agent Zack Stewart

My thoughts

I think this is quite a cleverly made film. I like how you've got the 3 cases that Zack was working on, and it comes down to piecing together these crimes to figure out what went wrong and what happened. There is suspense and drama in the film, especially towards the end. Broderick Crawford who plays Agent John Ripley plays a strong role in the film, and I like how adaptable he is throughout the film with the different people he encounters.

This may be a typical cops and robbers film made in the mid 1950's, but personally, I find it a true classic to watch. The story kept me gripped right to the end, and I love the strong and independent female characters throughout the movie. Although classed as film-noir, I love this genre of film and it's one of those films that will have you watching right to the end to see what happens. If you love this style of film, then I would highly recommend this one.

What I particularly like about the films made in the 50's is the fact that you see what kind of cars they used to drive then. Not only that, but the fashion at the time, the decor of the homes and offices. The whole 50's thing is just lovely, and seeing all this in films is simply wonderful. The women wore beautiful dresses, and the men all in suits and hats.

Down Three Dark Streets movie trailer

© 2017 Louise Powles


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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 months ago from The Caribbean

      You caught my interest when you mentioned the aspects of the 50s which are evident in the film. Of course, the plot seems fine too. I would watch it if I can find it. Thanks.

    • Claire-louise profile image

      Claire Raymond 5 months ago from UK

      I have never heard of this film, but it looks pretty good!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Glad to know that even then there was a strong independent woman role in film!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've never heard of this film but enjoyed reading about it. It was interesting to read that you feel that the black and white color adds to the dark tones of the film. I find this is true in old movies that I've seen. I think it's often a mistake to colorize them.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 months ago from The Beautiful South

      I love these old movies and seeing these photos of people I barely remember! Thanks for the memories.