Thursday, March 31, 2011
Decision Before Dawn (1951)
Visually, this film is a treat. This was filmed on location, and you can tell. There are shots of snow-covered mountains, thick woods, and bombed-out buildings that are truly breathtaking. The camerawork is also very impressive: not show-offish, but fluid and smooth, moving from location to location without being distracting. Most of all, the lighting was incredible, with scenes that look like they could have been taken from a film noir of the 40's instead of war film from the 50's.
It amuses me that this this the second Richard Baseheart movie in a row that I have seen that has "treason" as a central theme. Except in the previous film (Time Limit) he himself was the treacherous one and, but that is another story. Though he is top billed, I do not consider him the "star." That honor goes to Oskar Werner, whom Classic film fans may recognize from Jules and Jim, as the idealistic traveling POW. He gives a very haunting performance, as does Hildegard Knef in a small role as a cynical and sad bar girl.