Movies and Film

In or Out of Prison – The Threat (1949)


The Threat is a short, tense thriller that sees a convicted murderer break out of prison putting law enforcement and the public on high alert. Said escapee, one Arnold Kluger is no ordinary criminal as evidenced by the all-points bulletin that goes out and he proves that in no small amount of time. Kidnapping the District Attorney who put him away and a cop hot on his trail, the man has a plan or had one that is, because as he starts to put it in motion, he lets his emotions get the better of him, especially when it comes to his prisoners. As it is, it is not long before those feelings become his undoing leading to a very fateful showdown.

Starring Charles McGraw as Kluger, he is more the lead of the picture than those on the right side of the law, though Michael O’Shea who stars as Detective Ray Williams makes a good case for it. McGraw is perfectly cast as the hardened criminal, as the man with more than just a grudge and he proves it to the audience by taking his frustrations out on everyone around him, whether friend or foe. Virginia Grey portrays a woman caught up in his whirlwind, a victim perhaps, but one who chose a life of crime alongside Kluger’s former partner and who decided to turn Kluger in, sealing her own fate with no possibility of turning back. Other key players include Julie Bishop, Frank Conroy and Anthony Caruso among others and they beef up the cast well enough to make McGraw, O’Shea and Grey look good.

The man who makes it all look good is director Felix E. Feist who takes this familiar material and transforms it into something riveting as once it gets going, seeing where it leads is a must. Coupled with the performances of those who head it up and while it may not be a ground-breaking piece of cinema, The Threat makes for a quick, yet rapturous movie.

3.5 out of 5

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