'This Woman Is Dangerous': Joan Crawford & Dennis Morgan Crime Potboiler

This Woman Is Dangerous Joan Crawford David Brian Mari Aldon
This Woman Is Dangerous with Joan Crawford, David Brian, and Mari Aldon.

Despite the fact that it has one of my favorite movie titles, the first time I saw This Woman Is Dangerous I dismissed it as a total waste of time. But on second viewing, it wasn't so bad. The film, in fact, is quite watchable as long as you accept it for what it is: a cheap knock-off of Joan Crawford's previous Warner Bros. melodramas of love and crime. For although This Woman Is Dangerous lacks the punch of The Damned Don't Cry and the tawdriness of Flamingo Road, it does offer a hard-boiled Crawford wearing some nice clothes and getting to snarl dialogue like, “Tell your adorable little brother to mind his manners before I slap his face!”

In This Woman Is Dangerous Crawford plays Beth Austin, a gangster's moll slowly going blind, but who has a change of heart after being successfully treated by a young and handsome eye surgeon played by Dennis Morgan. For the third time, Crawford is teamed with David Brian, who plays a tough-talking gangster – but in this one she falls for cutie-pie Morgan. Of course, all this psychological hodgepodge is a metaphor symbolizing how Beth led a life of crime when her vision was blurry, then cleared up when her vision was restored.

Daniel Mainwaring and George Worthing Yates' screenplay (from a story by Bernard Girard) is not very believable, while director Felix E. Feist is no Vincent Sherman or Michael Curtiz. Just like what happened during her last years at MGM, Crawford apparently had to take whatever junk Warner Bros. threw at her during this time. This Woman Is Dangerous, in fact, turned out to be her last film under contract at that studio.

To be fair, this melodrama has some good moments, such as when Crawford goes temporarily blind and reforms her life. We also get to see her bond with a precocious little girl who's not nearly as bratty as Veda or Christina.

Just don't have any high expectations before watching This Woman Is Dangerous.

And she certainly was.

© Danny Fortune

This Woman Is Dangerous (1952). Dir.: Felix E. Feist. Scr.: Daniel Mainwaring (as Geoffrey Homes) and George Worthing Yates; from Bernard Girard's story “Stab of Pain.” Cast: Joan Crawford, Dennis Morgan, David Brian, Mari Aldon, Richard Webb, Philip Carey, Ian MacDonald, George Chandler.

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