silentfilm wrote:I didn't want to post these reviews until the funding period was over, but On Dangerous Ground (1917) was screened at Cinecon 43 in 2007. I wasn't that impressed with the film a decade ago. Here is what I wrote on alt.movies.silent
ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1918) [*1/2] a World War I propaganda film, was filmed at the World (Brady) studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey. An American doctor (Carlyle Blackwell) is visiting Germany when the Germany army conscripts all soldiers to go to war. He travels to Belgium, a country the Germany has invaded. There he meets a Belgian girl (Gail Kane) who poses as his wife. She is a Belgian spy and has stolen the German attack plans. They are captured bye the German army, but try to make a harrowing escape. The first ridiculous plot point was that the German's knew that their plans had been compromised by the woman spy, yet it was still vitally important that she get them to the allied army anyway, even though it took her several days to sneak them out of the country. The Germans could have easily changed their plans in the days after their theft. An even more stupid plot device had a German officer letting the woman spy go after he discovers that she is the wife of the doctor, who is shown saving the officer from drowning in a flashback. At least the Huns were not shown killing babies or raping Belgian women, like in some propaganda films.
The late Chris Jacobs had this review...
I also seem to be one of the few who genuinely enjoyed ON DANGEROUS GROUND, despite some of its convenient plot coincidences (or perhaps even because of them). For a World War I film made during the war, it was a fascinating blend of anti-German propaganda and anti-war pro- German sentiment -- certainly a far cry from the typical hate the hun melodrama.
Chris Snowden wrote this...
ON DANGEROUS GROUND (World, 1917) This story of WWI intrigue was released prior to America's entry into that war, and while it doesn't have the rabid Hate-the-Hun theme found in films produced a little later, the bad guys are still Germans. Matinee idol Carlyle Blackwell didn't leave much of an impression, but leading lady Gail Kane (who?) was quite good. Frances Marion's script kept things moving pretty well, and this was about as good as you could really expect a mid-teens programmer to be. **1/2
Having said that, I was a backer of this project, so I'm anxious to see if the film improves on a second viewing.
Wow, harsh! I ignored the propaganda, which is pretty mild, and concentrated on the "adventure" element. I think it's lighthearted in the vein of April Folly
. If taken seriously, it falls apart quickly. But as a way to team Blackwell and Kane in a Romancing the Stone
sort of way it works well. Also, I wanted to give Blackwell and Kane, both big stars of the era, a little exposure. All the films of the time didn't star Pickford, Fairbanks, or a Gish.