Dangerous Crossing (1953) – A Review


A review of the 1953 film noir mystery Dangerous Crossing about a wife whose husband goes missing on a ship, starring Jeanne Crain and Michael Rennie

Dangerous Crossing 1953 Jeanne Crain Michael Rennie noir mystery

Newlywed Ruth Stanton Bowman (Jeanne Crain) has boarded a transcontinental ocean liner with her new husband John Bowman (Carl Betz). The ship leaves port, John leaves his new bride momentarily and then disappears!

Ruth begins to frantically look for her husband and discovers all evidence of him boarding the ship is gone. The crew says they never saw Ruth with a man and believe she’s unbalanced and imagining the whole thing. It’s up to ship doctor Michael Rennie to calm her down and try to figure out what is going on.

Then Ruth receives a phone call from John telling her he’s hiding, their lives are in danger and instructs her not to trust anyone. Not knowing who is a friend or what is the truth, Ruth must try to untangle the mystery on her own.

It’s a great set-up to a story. An ocean-liner in the middle of the ocean, where could her husband be? Foggy decks lend an added air of mystery. The crew thinks this lady is bonkers. What is going on?

It’s the first half of the film that got me hooked in. Despite some melodramatic acting by Crain and hokey narration I was enjoying Dangerous Crossing. When Rennie shows up as the ship’s doctor I immediately started questioning his role. Is he truly on Ruth’s side or does he have ulterior motives? Things were getting intriguing.

Dangerous Crossing 1953 mystery ship noirBut then somewhere around the halfway mark Dangerous Crossing started to lose steam. The suspense seeped away and things began to get repetitive.

Ruth’s behavior became much less level-headed and reasonable. Her paranoia escalated way too much way and way too quickly that her behavior had me shaking my head.

She’s really the main focus in the film and once I no longer bought her behavior and actions I drifted further and further away from the story. Illogical plot holes started to tear through the story and the ending is very abrupt and not very satisfying.

Rennie’s likable presence is a plus, the film looks very nice and the sets of the ship are impressive (apparently the ship set from Titanic was used in this 20th Century production). But Dangerous Crossing ultimately didn’t do much for me. It starts with a bang, but ends up as a disappointing B-noir that doesn’t sustain it’s story for its 70 minutes.

Watch Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes instead.


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