The Dark Past (1948)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller


The Dark Past (1948) Poster

An escaped psychopathic killer who takes the family and neighbors of police psychologist hostage reveals a recurring nightmare to the doctor.


6.4/10
899

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  • William Holden and Lee J. Cobb in The Dark Past (1948)
  • William Holden and Nina Foch in The Dark Past (1948)
  • William Holden in The Dark Past (1948)
  • William Holden and Lee J. Cobb in The Dark Past (1948)
  • William Holden and Lee J. Cobb in The Dark Past (1948)
  • William Holden and Nina Foch in The Dark Past (1948)

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1 November 2001 | bmacv
6
| Talky hostage drama relies on Freud for Dummies
The return of variously shell-shocked, amnesiac or otherwise afflicted soldiers from the front precipitated a spate of postwar movies purporting to delve into the mysteries of the human psyche. In most cases, psychology was presented either as a sinister black art (to be viewed with the utmost suspicion) or in a laughingly simplistic way. The Dark Past, grindingly earnest, opts for the latter path. Wrong'un William Holden, visibly chafing under the constraints of the script, invades a home and holds its occupants -- family and guests -- hostage. He has the bad luck to find among them psychoanalyist Lee J. Cobb, puffing away at the inevitable pipe, who turns the ordeal into a teaching opportunity. Slowly he breaks down Holden's wall of defenses, until a childhood memory emerges....This Freudian breakthrough, of course, occurs in record time, though for viewers it may seem like a big chunk of eternity. Mercifully, Adele Jergens sashays in and out a few times to lower the picture's tone to tolerable. The Dark Past is a period-piece, of some interest to fans of the noir cycle, but its stagey insights and dated dramaturgy have not aged gracefully.

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