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DANA ANDREWS IN FRITZ LANG'S 'BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT'

Year: 1956 Rating: ***

German director Frtiz Lang, whose early European classics influenced American Film Noir, made one of the greatest of that shadowy stylistic genre, THE BIG HEAT, after which his crime-thrillers lost steam, ending with his last U.S. venture, the anti-capital-punishment melodrama BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT starring his previous WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS leading man Dana Andrews... 

Whose future reporter father-in-law concoct a plan to prove that that "reasonable doubt" constantly propelled by a pigheaded D.A. rival is not only unreasonable, but can also be a load of bunk... 

By having Andrews frame himself for a stripper's murder, wherein the best scenes take place backstage in the seedy dive she'd worked, romancing her co-workers, street savvy blonde Barbara Nichols to the chagrin of jealous floozy friend Robin Raymond: The latter played the doomed carnival dunk-tank girl in THE SNIPER, which starred this film's jilted wing man for Dana's fiance Joan Fontaine... 

But Arthur Franz's importance occurs later on... before a twist ending that, while loathed by many, actually takes the picture to a level above the too-obvious agenda, giving Dana's squeaky-clean idealist... whose usual minimalist style is a bit too minimal here... more edge than he has during the rushed murder trial... 

Overall, the best scenes had already come and gone with those bickering strumpets, and too few scenes as Andrews and Blackmer contrive the perfect murder that supposedly never took place. So while intriguing enough to pass the time, BEYOND is beneath Fritz Lang's style; in fact, his visual presence seems somewhat absent here. If only those two scene-stealing burlesque girls had their own movie together. Particularly Barbara Nichols, who, the following year, would have a similar yet far juicier role in THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS.

Barbara Nichols and Dana Andrews in BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
Robin Raymond and Barbara Nichols in BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
Dana Andrews in BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
Dana Andrews in BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
Dana Andrews in BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
Dana Andrews in BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
Dana Andrews in BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT with Barbara Nichols
Dana Andrews in BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT with Sidney Blackmer
Dana Andrews in BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT with Sidney Blackmer
Foreign poster Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Dana Andrews with Joan Fontaine in BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
Victim's roommate Joyce Taylor in BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
Edward Binns, Barbara Nichols & Robin Raymond in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Amazon bombshell Dorothy Ford in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Barbara Nichols as Dolly Moore in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Blu Ray shot of Trudy Wroe in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt with Dana Andrews

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