Life in Danger

Watch Life in Danger

  • NR
  • 1959
  • 58 min
  • 6.4  (191)

In the late 1950s, Hollywood was churning out a slew of tense, gritty British thrillers that were buoyed by a sense of existential dread and a willingness to push the envelope when it came to the on-screen depiction of violence. One of the standout films from this era is "Life in Danger," a gripping tale of a convicted murderer's daring escape from prison and his subsequent quest for revenge.

The film opens in a bleak, foreboding prison where we meet Carl Martin (Derren Nesbitt), a cold and calculating killer who has already served 10 years of a life sentence. Martin is not your typical murderer; he's intelligent, cunning, and utterly devoid of remorse. He's also a master manipulator, able to charm his way into the good graces of both his fellow inmates and the prison staff.

When Martin learns that he's been denied parole yet again, he snaps. He stages a bloody riot and uses the chaos as cover to make his escape, taking a hapless prison officer hostage along the way. Once outside the walls, Martin heads straight for London, where he plans to seek revenge on the two men he believes put him behind bars: his former employer, a wealthy industrialist named Loman, and a police detective named Johnson (Howard Marion-Crawford).

As Martin makes his way towards the city, the police launch a massive manhunt, with Johnson at the forefront. But Martin is always one step ahead, using a combination of guile, deception, and sheer brutality to stay one step ahead of the law. Along the way, he picks up a young hitchhiker named Jenny (Julie Hopkins), who becomes embroiled in his deadly game of cat and mouse.

"Life in Danger" is a masterclass in tension, with director Terry Bishop building a constant sense of unease that never lets up. Nesbitt is absolutely mesmerizing as Martin, imbuing the character with a cold, reptilian charm that is both unsettling and fascinating. Crawford, meanwhile, brings a grizzled, world-weary quality to his portrayal of the detective, while Hopkins provides a welcome dose of humanity as the innocent caught in the middle.

One of the most striking aspects of the film is the way it depicts violence. This was an era when Hollywood was still bound by strict censorship rules, meaning that filmmakers had to be creative in their portrayals of bloodshed. "Life in Danger" uses a combination of clever editing and suggestive sound design to create a sense of brutality without actually showing anything too explicit. As a result, the violence has a raw, visceral quality that still packs a punch today.

But what really sets "Life in Danger" apart is its exploration of the psychology of violence. Martin is a fascinatingly complex character, a man who seems to be driven by pure nihilism. At times, he appears almost glad to be on the run, as if his escape from prison has given him a new lease on life. And yet, there are moments when we glimpse a deeper pain lurking beneath his icy exterior, as if he's trying to fill some kind of void within himself.

Overall, "Life in Danger" is a taut, gripping thriller that showcases the best of British genre filmmaking from the late 1950s. It's a dark and unsettling film, one that lingers long after the credits have rolled. If you're a fan of hard-boiled crime movies or just looking for a film that will get your heart racing, this one is definitely worth a watch.

Life in Danger is a 1959 crime movie with a runtime of 58 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4.

Life in Danger
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    58 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (191)