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  • 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.
  • The best thing about Inferno is that, like the Aeneid, it jumps right into the middle of the action. Out in a southwestern desert, under the baking sun, lies Robert Ryan, with his leg broken and only a meager supply of food and water. He's been left to die by his wife (Rhonda Fleming) and her lover (William Lundigan). There's no backstory, no lead-up to the crucial events; what little we need to know gets doled out as the movie advances, but never in flashback.

    Of course, anybody can be left to die in the desert by a philandering spouse, but it helps if you're a millionaire, like Ryan. We learn that he inherited his fortune and wonders whether he deserves it, and that he's a tough and private man who suffers no fools gladly (the part's basically a reworking of Ryan's Smith Ohlrig in Max Ophuls' Caught).

    The rest of Inferno cross-cuts between Ryan's attempts to survive by his wits and Fleming's and Lundigan's to throw the local police and Ryan's business associates back in Los Angeles off track. After several days elapse, when it becomes apparent that Ryan may still be alive and on the move, Fleming and Lundigan decide that, in order to save themselves, they have to go back and finish the job....

    Inferno was issued in 1953, the annus mirabilis of 3-D. Unlike most titles filmed in that short-lived gimmick, it stands pretty well on its own – even the hurtling rocks, striking rattlers and flaming rafters stay effective without knocking viewers over the head. But basically it's a story of a man born to wealth who, to stay alive, must negotiate a deadly wilderness where money proves worthless. Watching Ryan do so is worth giving Inferno a look.
  • Inferno is a small but excellent 1953 film about a beautiful woman (Rhonda Fleming) and her lover (William Lundigan) who leave the woman's husband (Robert Ryan) alone in the desert with a broken leg, assuming he'll croak. The story focuses on Ryan's character trying to survive in the desert and what he learns about himself.

    With gorgeous Rhonda Fleming in the movie, it's done in color. A chimpanzee could have played her part - there's precious little acting involved - but she certainly adds tremendous beauty to the production. She and another spectacular redhead, Arlene Dahl, both were getting larger roles in films at the time the studio system was winding down. Ten years earlier, they might have ruled the world. William Lundigan is appropriately cold-blooded as her horny lover, and Larry Keating is an appropriately concerned business associate.

    But this is Ryan's film, and he's top-notch. His thoughts come over as voice-over, and you're pulling for him every step of the way, despite everyone describing him as unpleasant.

    Excellent film, quite a surprise.
  • Pretty inventive script, Robert Ryan helps pull off quite a bit of voice over dialog, nice photography, (I did see it in 3D) well paced there are a number of clever script/plot elements that keep it going and a great fight scene(which features most of the 3D Fx in the movie).

    Sort of a desert Film Noir really, well directed by the mostly always good Roy (Ward) Baker this holds up. There is constant cross cutting between Ryan's plight in the desert and the two villains swimming or eating and drinking that really builds your hatred of them and your siding with Ryan.

    No mamsey pamsey character softening here, which keeps it tough, but reality based, throughout. It's not a cartoon at any moment which can happen with B films. Though also perhaps the limited character development keeps it slightly in the programmer category. Good music score by Paul Sawtell as well. This movie moves quickly doesn't have the soapy elements, or bloated running time, that killed off many color crime films in the 1950's.
  • In the history of motion pictures only two ideas (as far as I know) failed to catch on in improving the movies we see. One is the laughable "Aroma-vision" that was tried out in the late 1950s with a film that Peter Lorre and Desmond Elliot made called SCENT OF MYSTERY. People just don't like certain odors that can be on the screen in films. But the other was an 3-D, which should have succeeded. If you want to have a more realism in movies, then you should have a movie where depth adds some degree of reality. But 3-D was not used properly. The best recalled uses are in grade z films like ROBOT MONSTER. The best uses of the process were in Alfred Hitchcock's DIAL "M" FOR MURDER, in the Vincent Price horror classic HOUSE OF WAX, and in INFERNO. But while Hitchcock's and Price's films are well remembered (and seen frequently), INFERNO has been generally ignored.

    It stars Robert Ryan, Rhonda Fleming, William Lundigan, Larry Keating, and Henry Hull. Ryan begins the film in one of his typically negative characterizations - a millionaire married to Fleming who treats everyone around him as a servant to do his bidding. Sort of like a follow up to his Smith Ohlrig in CAUGHT, only with a new bride. He is going on vacation, and he is accompanied by his wife and a guide played by Lundigan. But Fleming and Lundigan are having a love affair, and when Ryan is injured they realize that they can get rid of him, collect his fortune, and then marry. They leave the obnoxious millionaire in the desert with just a six shooter and a canteen with water. He also has a broken leg. They figure they can report he wandered off, they could not trace him, and in a week the police can find his corpse.

    Ryan fools them. Always intelligent in his roles, he growls as soon as he is alone, "They think I'll drink up all my water!" He starts an enforced rationing. He also makes a crutch. Finally he shows his patience in becoming a careful hunter - carefully using his gun to kill game only when it is available. Soon he is able to start following the stars to get back to civilization. And his disappearance is not being casually dismissed by the discovery of his body by the authorities led by Carl Betz. And Fleming and Lundigan are beginning to get nervous - and a bit less lovey-dovey with each other.

    But the best part of this film, aside from the careful script and performances, was director Roy Baker's brilliant use of 3-D. He wanted the size of that desert Ryan is marooned in to be really evident to the audience, and his shots of the miles of mesas and sand are deeply impressive. It adds to one's realization of just what Ryan is up against to survive. Actually it was the best use of the process in Hollywood movies, and it makes one regret that John Ford did not think of using the process in say THE SEARCHERS or TWO RODE TOGETHER. Ford's use of "Monument Valley" was always brilliant - imagine if it too had been in 3-D.
  • I really do wish that this excellent thriller was available on VHS or DVD. There is a tremendous amount of intensity and suspense to the entire film from start to finish. In fact, you really can't guess what the outcome will be. It is truly a game of "cat vs mouse". The casting is excellent! Robert Ryan, Rhonda Fleming and William Lundigan really do bring life to the characters that they play. The original is terrific and has a really good story line to it. It really surprises me that they haven't had a remake of it. I've only seen it once, but I'd have to say it is well worth seeing a second time. Believe me! You will positively be glued to the edge of your seat.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'Inferno' was originally filmed in 3D, but this film avoids the stupid gimmicks that plagued so many films in that brief genre ... such as the paddleballs that utterly ruined 'House of Wax' for me. In far too many 3D films, the actors are constantly chucking objects at the audience. We get none of that here, except for one medium close-up of Henry Hull flinging a burning paraffin lamp at the camera.

    'Inferno' is shown on television in flat 2D format. Good news: even in 2D, 'Inferno' is a taut thriller that's well worth your attention. Robert Ryan usually fails to impress me, but he gives a riveting performance here as a millionaire who's had everything given to him his entire life, but who now must learn self-reliance in order to survive.

    Ryan is cast as millionaire Donald Carson III ... and the roman numeral is an obvious tip-off that Carson's wealth is inherited. Carson's sluttish wife Geraldine (a fine performance by the sexy and underrated Rhonda Fleming) has been openly carrying on an affair with Carson's overseer Duncan. The three of them go on a trip into the desert together, where Carson breaks his leg. It's never established how this happened: did Carson break his leg in a genuine accident, or did Duncan 'accidentally' break it for him? Anyway, Geraldine and Duncan have decided to maroon her husband in the desert, dooming him to slow death by exposure while Geraldine inherits his millions.

    SLIGHT SPOILERS COMING. Carson must learn to fend for himself, in a situation where his money is useless. In a sterling perfomance, Robert Ryan gradually *earns* our sympathy. There's a suspenseful scene in which Carson, crippled and starving, tries to snare a jackrabbit. When he finally succeeds, we cheer for him. But then a raptor snatches away the rabbit that Carson earned. During another tense sequence, Carson must lower himself down a desert cliffside without damaging his broken leg.

    Henry Hull is an actor whom I've always found very mannered. Hull was a good actor when he played highly stylised roles (such as the title role in 'Werewolf of London', or 'Miracles for Sale' in which he played a conjuror), but Hull tended to give overripe performances when he was cast as a realistic human being. In 'Inferno', he gives a histrionic turn as a Gabby Hayes-type old coot of a hermit who lives in the desert. Hull's performance here is probably similar to his Broadway turn as Jeeter Lester in 'Tobacco Road'.

    In September 2003, I attended a 3D movie festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, where I saw 'Inferno' in its original format (with those silly cardboard glasses). As good as 'Inferno' is in flat format, it's even better in 3D. I'll go out on a limb and say that 'Inferno' is the greatest 3D movie ever. Underrated director Roy Ward Baker resists the urge to throw things at the 3D stereopticon cameras. Instead, he draws us *into* the frame, shooting the desert vistas in deep-focus tableaux that impress us with the vast width and length and depth of the desert in which Robert Ryan's crippled protagonist is trapped. There are several suspense films that effectively invoke claustrophobia, the fear of being trapped in an enclosed space. 'Inferno' is one of the very few films -- and the only 3D film -- to successfully instil in us a sense of the opposite fear: agoraphobia, the terror of being trapped in an *open* space, with no comforting walls or corners.

    I have never seen any other film that uses the 3D process so effectively -- and with as much originality -- as it's used here. The fact that the 3D is used in the service of an excellent script and some fine performances -- instead of paddleball gimmicks -- makes this movie even more impressive, and more entertaining. I'll rate 'Inferno' 10 points out of 10. You'll enjoy it in 2D, but make every effort to see it in 3D.
  • This is one of the few movies where Robert Ryan, a hard-driving, rich, and arrogant businessman, actually has the audience's sympathy. The gorgeous Rhonda Fleming plays his conniving and faithless wife who ruthlessly strands him in the desert with a broken leg. And Ms. Fleming is all-too-convincing in the bad-girl role. The movie centers on Ryan's thoughts, feelings, and actions as he attempts to survive this nightmarish ordeal. For awhile, his revenge fantasies are the only things keeping him going, but things change. Carl Betz and Larry Keating are quite good in pithy supporting roles. And, the suspense keeps our interest throughout. The makers of Cast Away should have watched this a few times before making their exercise in ennui, also about finding the will to survive in almost impossible circumstances.

    Only one negative comment: William Lundigan is much too old and too refined as Fleming's lover-conspirator who gets a nasty attack of conscience late in the game. Someone rugged such as Rock Hudson (who was in his pre-Doris-Day days) or Lloyd Bridges, or even Chuck Connors would have been a much better choice.

    That said, Inferno is a well-made and memorable film.
  • TheHG14 November 2001
    I saw this movie when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. All I remember about it is that it was about a man (Robert Ryan) with the unusual and most unfortunate position of being stranded in a desert (a real inferno) and at the same time being hunted down by a cheating wife and her murderous lover. Ryan delivers a top notch performance in this suspenseful and highly dramatic film. This is a very good and satisfying movie.
  • I think Robert Ryan is one of the greatest actors of his time and its a shame that he seems to be forgotten in todays movie society, This is am excellent example of Ryans acting prowess and shows how the will to live is so strong despite being betrayed and abandoned in a place with out hope. I would say this is a must see for people interested in Robert Ryans acting and his excellent ability to make it all seem so real. I like the fact that he never gives up despite all the odds thrown against him when adultery alone makes most people lose the will to carry on. I have seen this movie twice now and have been riveted to the TV both times. Years ago having seen Robert Ryan in a few movies I thought he was OK but this movie proves he was much more than that and I look forward to discovering him in his other movies I have yet to see.
  • This exciting thriller packs a punch as a cheating wife (Rhonda Fleming) and her scheming lover (William Lundigan) purposely abandon her husband with a broken leg in the middle of the Mojave Desert without transportation or supplies. But they're not clever enough by half...as they start their premature gloating and plans to spend his money, the determined husband (grittily played by Robert Ryan) refuses to die and slowly makes his hate-filled way to a spectacular revenge.
  • I was born the year this picture was made, 1953. I had no idea who Robert Ryan was until a few months ago. What a tremendous actor he was! and Inferno is one of his best! The man never got the recognition he deserved and today he's an unknown to most.

    The 3D is exceptional on the DVD even when viewing in 2D which I tried. The Technicolor saturated colors which were a staple of 50's films is amazing. One scene with Ronda Fleming in a purple evening dress with her lover William Lundigan in a deep blue suit just pop out of the screen, they are so vibrant. These 2 characters were despicable adulterers who setup and planned a way to leave Ryan to die in the desert. He survives the hard elements of the desert, meeting many tough events. It moves fast, the cinematography, especially in the desert is outstanding. By all means see it! Highly Recommended!
  • Robert Ryan, Rhonda Fleming and Bill Lundigan give outstanding performances in this suspensive thriller that winds up in a struggle to survive in the desert. Originally introduced in 3D in 1953, it will keep you on the edge of your seat.
  • Acceptable film mainly set in an extremely sunny desert and with limited roles . It has little budget and a few actors , most budget goes to 3D Technicolor , stereophonic sound and other technical elements . It stars an alcoholic and egoistic millionaire well played by Robert Ryan who is left at the Mojave desert by his wife Rhonda Fleming and her lover William Lundigan . Meanwhile, the selfish Ryan attempts to save himself, as he carries out a dangerous descent into a canyon with just one rope and a fall of hundreds of feet.

    This is a tight and suspenseful essay in intrigue with a basically simple and plain premise which works ingeniously thanks to magnificent interpretations and adequate exteriors . As Ryan gives a fine acting as the wealthy , unsympathetic man who breaks his leg falling off , as we are forced to change out attitude of contempt to one of sympathy and admiration for his sheer will to survive . Along with Ryan appears the gorgeous Rhonda Fleming who is very nice as the cheating wife and Willian Lundigan as the traitor as well as nasty lover . Decent support cast such as : Henry Hull , Larry Keating , Harry Carter . Well produced by 20th Century Fox that distributed on a double bill with the western "Rawhide" by Henry Hathaway . When the cast and crew arrived at the Mojave desert location they suffered several illness such as pneumonia and fevers , that is why the high temperatures and cold nights .

    It packs a colorful and brilliant cinematography in technicolor , released in 3D by the prestigious Lucien Ballard , Sam Peckinpah regular . Thrilling and atmospheric musical score by Paul Sawtell . The motion picture was professionally directed by Roy Ward Baker who handles the suspense pretty well ; Inferno was one of the best and last movies to be made in 3D during the boom in the early 50s, here emphasising the dramatic possibilities , though this devise had largely been squandered in other films made at the time ; however , Roy Baker uses it appropriately . The British Roy Baker directed a great number of films as in US/Hollywood as "House in the square, Don't bother to knock , Night with sleep" as in England usually in terror movies for Hammer productions such as : "Masks of death, Legend of 7 golden golden vampires , Vault of horrors , The scars of Dracula , Dr Jekill Sister Hyde, The anniversary , And now the screaming starts , The monster club , The vampire lovers , and Asylum" , among others . Rating : 6/10 well worth seeing .
  • MrPie727 June 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    Not on anybody's play list but the Westerns Channel should pick up on it. Rhonda Fleming is so hot in this film that I would be tempted into going along with the scheme! Remade in the 70's with Arthur Hill in the Robert Ryan role. One of my all time favorites! This film is almost NEVER shown. I first saw it on T.V. in the mid-sixties. Have been searching for it ever since. Finally saw it for a second time in early 2006. I have never seen a better man vs nature film. The initially unlikeable, cantankerous millionaire, excellently portrayed by Ryan is so transformed by his experience that in the end he even loses most of his rage against his wife and her lover. He just basks in his newly won self respect.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Greed, and the want of someone else's wealth at any and all costs, will not make a person(s) happy no matter what the initial premise for proceeding with an attempted murder is.

    In this film noir there are three key players. The victim is the very rich and bratty Donald Whitley Carson III (played by Robert Ryan who usually plays the bad guy), who is married to a cheating wife named Geraldine Carson (played by the attractive Rhonda Fleming) and Donald's business partner and so-called friend Joseph Duncan, (played by the thin waisted William Lundigan), who has fallen under Geraldine's spell.

    So Geraldine and Joseph hatch a plan to leave Donald Whitley Carson III out in the desert with a broken leg under the pretense that they will be back to get him once they have brought back medical aid to take care of his broken leg. It doesn't take Donald Whitley Carson III long to figure out that his loving wife and good friend actually perpetrated to break his leg by a so called accident and leave him to bake in the 120 degree hot sun with his water and food supply dangerously low. Geraldine and Donald start to panic when they hear that Donald Whitley Carson III may have survived so they drive back out to the desert to finish him off. But along comes the crudgy old desert fox named Sam Elby with his Beverly Hillbillies like jalopy that is steaming and sputtering but to Donald Whitley Carson III this old vehicle appears out from the blazing red sun as a shining white knight, a God come to save him from what was sure to be an otherwise painful and slow death for the buzzards to pick at his skin and bones. The crudgy Sam Elby is played to perfection by character actor Henry Hull who lives off of the desert land and has little to no need to the wealthy Donald Whitley Carson III's money, and only wants to feed and shelter him.

    This is a story that you want to see the good guys win and the bad guys get their just rewards. What I learned from this story is "that money is definitely a lousy measure to keep score' of the winners and losers in life...and in death.
  • This was one of the better 3-D movies of the 1950's. Rhonda Fleming is excellent as the not so innocent wife of Robert Ryan. Fleming appeared in two other 3-Dimension films of the 1950's, the others being JIVARO and THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this movie years ago and thought it was wonderful. An exceptional story and exceptional cast. I keep hoping some day the movie industry will put in for sale on DVD.There have been so many movies put on DVD that were no where near as good as this one,I don't understand the rational of which movies are brought to DVD and those that are't.Small cast of husband left for dead and greedy wife and her boyfriend keep returning to the desert hopefully to find a body but husband fights against the odds. With no water, may etc, uses his ingenuity to stay alive.All ends well, greedy wife and her boyfriend gets this their just deserts.Husband survives against terrible odds.
  • Lee-14421 May 2000
    I just saw this movie last night for the first time since 1953 as it was filmed, in it's original 3D, and this is one movie that made good use of 3D. A good plot, well filmed, made me wonder why 3D went away so soon. The scenes of Robert Ryan looking down the face of the rocks he has to climb down will make you appreciate 3D.
  • You only have to watch INFERNO for a few moments to realize it was filmed originally in 3-D, the popular fad that existed in the early '50s to draw people away from their TV sets.

    But here, at least, it's used to great effect with many camera shots showing things tossed at the camera obviously designed for 3-D effect. But best of all, the story is a good one involving a man's survival on the desert after being dumped there by his greedy wife (RHONDA FLEMING) and her lover (WILLIAM LUNDIGAN). Fleming looks ravishing in Technicolor but she's a cold-hearted bitch.

    Surprisingly, it's ROBERT RYAN who turns into a sympathetic character once his situation looks hopeless. Another twist in the casting is having Lundigan play a villain for a change.

    The payoff (when it comes) is effective, as the plot moves toward an action-filled climax in the cabin where Ryan has been befriended by HENRY HULL. Lundigan returns with a shotgun aiming to make sure Ryan is dead when all hell breaks loose.

    Tidy little thriller is worth watching, well directed for taut suspense by Roy Ward Baker. Good cinematography, even without the 3-D look, and the well choreographed fight between Lundigan and Ryan is a realistic one.
  • Inferno was a great 3D film classic from the 50's, Lots of effective 3D shots of the wonderful desert locations and cliffs of Arizona, the late Dan Symmes has done almost a perfect job of restoration and 3D convergence alignment, the 3D in the 50's tended to be shot with quite a wide camera separation and so could sometimes cause crosstalk, Dan has managed to equalize most of the shots and eliminate most crosstalk problems and so we end up with a comfortable and effective viewing on my Samsung Plazma. Great to see that Panamint have distributed this classic 3D movie in the UK and I wish them success and hope that they can release more 3D films on Blu-ray 3D disk in the future. I urge all 3D buffs to support there efforts and buy this disk to encourage there future investment in 3D.
  • user-141662 January 2007
    This is an engrossing movie that pulls you in. See it from the start. I do not believe it is on video at this time, but it shows up on TCM from time to time. Taught survival/double cross movie as the lead wakes up in the desert and must try to get to civilization with nothing. He has been betrayed by his wife and her lover.

    Robert Ryan is excellent in the lead.

    Some cinematic techniques like switching from desert to swimming pool are very effective counter points showing the wife and husband in diametrically opposed situations. Ultimately, this film is about a journey and attempt to survive.
  • My Dad took me to see this when I was 5. I was so engrossed in the perils of Robert Ryan, I had to look away because I was so worried he would kill himself. The movie must have made a big impression on me to have remembered it at such a young age. I saw it on cable many years later and it still was a great movie experience. But I think the 3-D experience made it better. William Lundigan plays a forgettable role here and I remember him only because he was a home-grown talent from Syracuse. Rhonda Fleming plays her usual fiery redhead role here. Robert Ryan was a superb actor and as with all his movies whether the lead or supporting creates a character that fits the role he was chosen for. A good movie for the whole family.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Millionaire business tycoon Donald Whitley Carson III(Robert Ryan)is left to die in a southwestern desert by his conniving wife, Geraldine (Rhonda Fleming) and her lover Joseph Duncan(William Lundigan). Carson suffering a broken leg and with little water has revenge to sustain his sanity. He finds money is worthless and that cactus is a source of water. Geraldine fears her husband has somehow survived the rigors of the desert and insists that Duncan drive her to the desert and finish off the dirty deed. Ryan is strong in this stunning and suspenseful saga of survival. Fleming's good looks are more obvious than her acting abilities. There are some astounding scenes of the desert. INFERNO, being the first 3-D release from 20th Century Fox, holds up well even without that visual treatment. Also starring are: Larry Keating, Carl Betz, Robert Burton and Henry Hull.
  • "Inferno" is a film with a very simple plot. Despite this, it was given top treatment by improved sound AND 3D! And, as you watch, you can see in quite a few places that 3D gimmicks would abound...but it's still basically a good film.

    When the film begins, a rich man is injured in the desert and his unfaithful wife and her lover decide to leave him there to die of exposure. The problem is that Donald (Robert Ryan) is a very tough guy and he's determined to not only survive but last long enough to exact revenge. Fortunately, where the movie goes next is a bit unusual and yet satisfying.

    Much of the film consists of Donald talking to himself by having Ryan do voiceovers. This is risky but the director manages to make it work...and the film manages to take a very simple story yet make it worth your time.
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