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Down Three Dark Streets Film Review

Updated on September 3, 2019
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I am a film enthusiast and enjoy reviewing films I have watched. I like all sorts of films but mainly black & white ones from the '50s/'60s.


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.

© 2017 Louise Powles


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