Dark City (1950) Charlton Heston Poker Cheating Leads To Man Monster Murder!

This review is for Dark City (1950). A crime film noir thriller centered around gambling and monster murder?

What’s going down?

Danny Haley runs a small illegal gambling joint. Even with paying for police protection with backhanders the venue still gets raided. Down and out Danny and his business associates are ready to throw in the towel, just as the happy-go-lucky WW2 veteran Arthur strolls in. An out of town sucker way too nice to see through these despicable grifters. He wins, of course! The trap is set, the mark is played. As the night draws in and after the smoke filled room and stink of booze has cleared, some troubling news travels to Danny. The swinging of a hangman’s noose! Death will come in the shadows, death that starts to hunt them down. Vengeance with giant squeezing hulk hands.

The main players

Charlton Heston is Danny Haley
Lizabeth Scott is Fran Garland
Dean Jagger is Capt Garvey
Don DeFore is Arthur Winant
Jack Webb is Augie
Ed Begley is Barney
Harry Morgan is Soldier
Viveca Lindfors is Victoria Winant
Mike Mazurki as Sidney Winant

Tagline – A tense, tough drama of underworld violence and revenge! 

Sure I’ve seen them in something?

Ok, he may of played a few small characters like Ben Hur (1959) and Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956) hehe but Charlton Heston is always gonna be one of the king’s of science fiction with me. That super trio of big sci-fi classics. None more so than, of course, Planet Of The Apes (1968). The other two would be, Soylent Green (1973) and The Omega Man (1971). Shockingly I haven’t reviewed them yet! I do have two other Charlton’s reviewed if you are interested, Touch of Evil (1958) Orson Welles & 10 Things That Blew Me Away! and The Naked Jungle (1954) Charlton Hates Ants And Sloppy Seconds!

Lizabeth Scott is no stranger to film noir. She got a few great thrillers under her belt. One with Humphrey Bogart called Dead Reckoning (1947) and a top tough Andre De Toth movie called Pitfall (1948) alongside Dick Powell and she received top billing on Too Late For Tears (1949) to name just three films.

Ok you don’t see too much of him but man mountain Mike Mazurki has a real unique presence about him. Hulking in at 6ft 5″ with his rough and craggy face. He’d find himself being cast as gangster muscle, a hit-man or some mindless brute or bully. A few of the films I’ve seen him in are Murder, My Sweet (1944), Nightmare Alley (1947) and the brilliant Night and the City (1950) Plus of course, the classic, Some Like It Hot (1959). He did get to become a leading man in a family adventure called Challenge To Be Free (1975) It sounds like an early take on the trapper on the run in the snow that Charles Bronson would do in the superb Death Hunt (1981). Which, by the way, was one of my very first reviews on this here movie blog. Bronson, Marvin and Apollo Creed Freeze Their Nuts Off! Hit me up with your menacing Mike Mazurki recommendations.

Notes on production?

Directed by German film legend William Dieterle who went film nuts during the 30’s and made over fourty films! One of which would be the classic Victor Hugo adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara. William Dieterle was also an actor with many productions under his name. One big 1920’s one was the fantasy horror film, Faust (1926).

Dark City’s story is based on a tale by Larry Marcus called No Escape! The movie would be produced by big time Hal B. Wallis. So many films he’d get his name on, like… The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942) Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) True Grit (1969)

Hits like a sledge hammer

The realisation of what their dire actions have led to hits pretty hard.

Random Observation

There’s a nice little scene with Lizabeth Scott singing “That Old Black Magic” It’s a sweet scene as you see the heartfelt love she has for Danny. Yet, the stupid doofus is too wrapped up in his depressing cloud of dark blue doom to even realise. Lizabeth Scott is dubbed by Trudy Stevens who I read also dubbed the singing voices of Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen in 1954 seasonal Bing Crosby classic, White Christmas.

A Few Choice Lines

Danny Haley –Are we under arrest?
Captain Garvey –No, guys like you seldom get arrested… You get killed first.

Danny Haley –Playing cards with you two is like washing your feet with your socks on.


The real novelty here is to see Charlton Heston in his first meaty role. To witness whether you can see the flicker beginnings of that Charlton spark ready to burn brighter for much bigger things. Seeing him here, in a noir setting, also had me excited. I hadn’t heard of Dark City before and that title is perfect for a 50s noir-esque thriller with a seedy underbelly. He certainly looked the part with his tall and handsome good looks. I wasn’t so convinced he had the chops to completely pull this one off though. He just seemed over moody and depressed most of the time. I didn’t get that bad boy, full of charisma, feel that someone like Burt Lancaster would bring to the dark screen. To be fair, he did the best with the screenplay as he could. It’s a worthy movie to tick off but let’s not be kidding ourselves, we all here to see those humble beginnings of a young Judah Ben-Hur.

Rating score

Wolfman’s rating 6.5/10       IMDB 6.7/10

Feel free to recommend me related movies and any other trivia if you wish. Keep having fun at the movies…. Mikey Wolf


18 thoughts on “Dark City (1950) Charlton Heston Poker Cheating Leads To Man Monster Murder!

  1. I will spend the rest of the night trying to imagine what: “Playing cards with you two is like washing your feet with your socks on” means in the context of card games, lol !! It’s super frustrating and super pointless? Backwards and unintuitive? haha. I love it, though.
    At first glimpse, I thought of the more recent Dark City, of course, with William Hurt (RIP) and the star of the movie whose name I can never remember.
    So if you’ve never done reviews of Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, and The Omega Man…maybe you could stick Dark City in there one day too! Of course, Mr. Heston isn’t in it. It’s just another pretty good sci-fi movie; unique premise, in my opinion.
    Heston in “a few small roles” like Ben Hur and Moses
    I thought I Am Legend turned out pretty good, though (even though Omega Man was a good effort). It was way before Will Smith sullied the Oscars…and I bet he wishes he could travel back in time and start over.
    Did you ever see it, Mikey?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha yes you are so right! That line is so silly. Should be something like? “Playing cards with you two stinks, like dirty week old socks” or something similar.

      Yes! I’m so happy to hear you bring up Dark City (1998)! Dark and seedy and twisted fear and sinister intrigue, just like those dirty week old socks! Not many people I mention it to have seen or heard of it. Dark science fiction at it’s best. Strange big cast too. All playing messed up characters. The idea, the imagery, the sets, revolving dark city, the photography. Did I mention dark! Haha yes I did. It’s on the review list but just never got to it.

      I did see “I Am Legend” I did like it. The dog broke me! Nooooo! I seem to remember the bit when the “zombie things” got him caught with a well laid trap being very good. I’ve always had a struggle with Will Smith, I liked Bad Boys and Independence Day and I,Robot! but not a lot else.
      The Slap debacle was the icing on the cake. What a twat! excuse my language. On the plus side Chris Rock has a new stand-up incoming soon on Netflix.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know, the doooooog! Nooooo! lol
        Oh, man, I’ve always struggled with Will too. I’ve basically never really liked him. He would always play cliches, then when he tried to do drama, it wasn’t believable, because I don’t think he ever took any serious acting classes! I think The Slap was the last straw for LOTS of us, lol. My God, it’s a year later, and I can still see it/hear it happening like it happened five minutes ago! Guy needs serious, serious, decades-long therapy. If he knew himself better, he’d probably be a MUCH better actor, too.
        As for Chris Rock, yay! That should be interesting….haha

        Liked by 1 person

    • “At first glimpse, I thought of the more recent Dark City, of course, with William Hurt (RIP)”

      So did I Stacey 🙂 Nice to see you on here and Happy 2023 🙂


      • Hi, John! Thanks. Same to you!
        Have you posted anything recently? WP has been effing with me (pardon my French) and “unsubscribing” me from people. Weeks go by and I think, “Gee, I guess so and so is taking a break,” but it turns out I’m just not getting their stuff anymore!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, PS: Did you ever seen Kevin James as the Sound Guy, “interacting” with different people as if they were just on the set and engaging in strange conversations? Like this one of him and Will–I guess the joke being Kevin’s just the sound guy, but Will won’t get out of character, and things keep escalating….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that is truly hysterical. So funny. I never saw it, great share. Very clever on the edit and what a great idea HAHA 🙂

      Shamefully just seen now that Kevin James done loads of these “Sound Guy” giggles. That’s gonna make for a fun binge.
      Thank you Stacey

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome! Some are better than others. Some are a little flat, lol. But definitely check out the No Country for Old Men with Chugur one when you have time… lol

        Liked by 1 person

        • My goodness that one brilliant. Jeez I forgot how terrifying that scene was. Keep meaning to revisit it but you know when a film is so perfect that you feel you don’t wanna spoil it by going back. I will be watching it again, just waiting for that right time… The book was a fantastic too.


  3. It was just okay. I agree that Lancaster would have been a better choice. Regardless, I love Chuck to pieces, so it didn’t matter that he was miscast. And it has a great supporting cast!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Of all the noir films I’ve seen in my life, I’ve NEVER watched this one, and I don’t know why! I seem to remember starting to watch it once, then stopped…and never went back. I did the same thing with ‘Detective Story’…why? I have no idea!

    But I must say, I love that line by Captain Garvey…”You get killed first.” That may be enough to sway me into giving it a second try. Or maybe it’s like you said: I see Charlton as a sci-fi guy, and not a noir guy, and my feeble mind can’t handle the concept, and it will go unwatched by me forever.

    As for the ‘socks’ line…without having seen the film, my first thought for its meaning was, “what’s the point?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • You get that sometimes with films. I’ve got a few on a list of half finished movies I was enjoying but something come up. Hoping to go back but you never do. Dark City worth it to see big young Chuck. The gambling scenes with the “no-goods” are great and the hulking hands of Mike Mazurki bring the pain. Worth another try I’d say if it so happens to cross your path. Just remember to wash your socks first!

      BTW definitely go back to ‘Detective Story’ if you can. That is a top watch and worth it just to watch Eleanor Parker. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I thought I might’ve had both in my digital collection, but I just checked and I don’t. But I have another source available to me, so I promise I’ll be giving them both a watch before the year is out.

    And yes, Eleanor Parker…I really liked her in ‘The Sound of Music’, so maybe I’ll go with ‘Detective Story’ first. I remember at one time I was going to buy the DVD, then saw it was outrageously priced, and changed my mind. Maybe THAT’S why I’ve never watched it…I’m still carrying the emotional scars from that shopping experience.


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