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The Dark Corner

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The Dark Corner, starring Lucille BallThe Dark Corner (1946) starring Lucille Ball, William Bendix, Clifton Webb, Mark Stevens
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The Dark Corner (1946) starring Lucille Ball, William Bendix, Clifton Webb, Mark Stevens

Synopsis of The Dark Corner

Some men are drawn to women – some men are drawn to murder. In this captivating story of strange obsession, Kathleen Conley (Lucille Ball) and her boss Brad Galt (Mark Stevens)are caught up in something shockingly different…and terrifyingly dangerous. Galt has a secret so terrible; he might have to kill to keep it. In the midst of their budding romance Kathleen and Galt are being tailed by a heavy-set man in a white suit (William Bendix) and though she doesn’t know why or how strong the threat is Galt does and he is prepared to go to extreme lengths to protect himself.

Review of The Dark Corner

The Dark Corner is remembered mostly for Lucille Ball‘s role in the movie, and that’s a pity.  Not that Lucille Ball didn’t turn in a good performance. She did, playing “gal Friday” to a hard-nosed private eye with a shrouded past. The Dark Corner is an example of film noir. The main character, Brad Galt (played by Mark Stevens, who ironically gets fourth billing in his starring role) is a hard-boiled detective. His past is initially a mystery that gradually is revealed as the film progresses.  He starts romancing his secretary, Kathleen Stewart, played by the lovely Lucille Ball. She’s a secretary who starts working more as his partner in the detective agency. As well as investigating a shady character (played by William Bendix) who claims to be investigating him at the urging of a man from his past …

This soon leads to a murder mystery. Galt has to clear his name while on the run from the law, that ties into a romantic triangle (no, not with Lucille Ball).  It’s a very entertaining film, and I enjoyed it very much. Especially the unexpected happy ending.

Cast of characters

Editorial Reviews of The Dark Corner, starring Lucille Ball, courtesy of

The Dark Corner can’t seriously be proposed as a great film noir, but it’s one that people cherish. For one thing, it’s unique in having Lucille Ball who has absolutely no “€œsplainin'” to do–as the smart, resourceful, devoted secretary of beleaguered private eye Mark Stevens.

Lucy actually rates top billing, with Clifton up-to-his-old-Laura-tricks Webb and William vicious-brute-in-a-white-suit Bendix also getting their names above that of the hero in the credits.

In this, there’s a certain justice; they all deliver the goods, whereas Stevens seems a tad lightweight as the hardnose, Phil Marlowe type cracking wise and punching his way through the mean streets. His character comes burdened with more backstory than usual for movie detectives; this time, the case the private eye has to solve is his own.

The intriguingly convoluted screenplay (by Jay Dratler, who co-wrote Laura, and Bernard Schoenfeld, from a story by Leo Rosten) takes hold like a vise and sustains the tension even though, by rights, its credibility should be shrinking with each passing reel.

Henry Hathaway’s direction is crisp, and the cinematography by Joe MacDonald (who would next shoot John Ford’s My Darling Clementine) is both pungent and gorgeous. With Cathy Downs, Kurt Kreuger, and Reed Hadley, who plays a police detective here but more often supplied the voiceover on Fox’s semidocumentary thrillers and Anthony Mann’s T-Men. —Richard T. Jameson

Updated February 10, 2022

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