• Warning: Spoilers
    The situation of isolation was taken to its extreme, in 1953, in a powerful little film called 'Inferno,' which had the central character forsaken, injured and entirely alone, in a burning desert in the middle of nowhere... The film made better use of 3-D than any other film, suggesting the lone handicapped figure in the vast space...

    The powerful Robert Ryan was a rude, unrefined, spoiled and selfish millionaire who went on a desert expedition to seek manganese with his faithless wife Rhonda Fleming, and her worthless lover, William Lundigan...

    Ryan broke a leg in a fall from his horse, and the other two went off and left him to die...

    It seemed a certainty: There was no chance of anyone finding him in that large area of land, and anyway the lovers could delay a search... He had nothing to drink or eat. He could not even walk a pace...

    The fascination of the story was the way in which all the characteristics which, at the start, had made Ryan so unlikeable gradually became sympathetic and, after a while, we became identified with the tense struggle to survive of this man whom we had begun by disliking and despising...

    This was some achievement by writer, director and actor... Identification is essential to suspense... You must care about the character to share his dangers, and suspense vanishes the moment the tiny thought enters your mind: "He deserves what he gets."

    It is easy to identify with the charm of a Cary Grant, the sincerity of a Gregory Peck, for example. But in 'Inferno' Ryan had to gather up our sympathy, build our identification, step by painful step with every crisis he overcame...

    Even his initial impulse to survival was not particularly likable: a violent urge to live to revenge himself on his wife and her lover... But little by little this declared into a simple determination not to be beaten - either by Nature or by the runaways...

    The film was suspense through the development of character in action – and it was good stuff.