MovieChat Forums > On Dangerous Ground (1952) Discussion > As though Hitchcock saw this and said 'B...

As though Hitchcock saw this and said 'Bernard give me that'.


If you are fan of North by Northwest or Vertigo, this film gives a great window into composer Bernard Herrmann.

The stop start, call and response, the working of the motifs in some scenes are a lift almost to a T.

Granted composers have their bag of tricks and here is an artist in development, on his way to being fully realized. A Master who nails the emotion of the situation so well, that when he encounters the same in a later film, he knows just what arrow to pull from the quiver.The orchestration, the energy and the language of music and film are laid bare to compare.

There's even a cliff climbing scene right out of the Mt Rushmore climb in NxNW. Herrmann uses almost the exact same approach when scoring both. Its a great exposé. Comparing demonstrates ODG has a more raw, unpolished quality. Some of that may have been budget driven, but I prefer to think its the composer in development. Here get an early version of what is fully realized years later with Hitch.

It is very instructive.

IMDB has On Dangerous Ground as Bernard Herrmann's 10th film score, so he has another 20+ credits before he gets to what we best know him for. Almost as though Hitchcock saw this and said "Bernard give me that".

That his first credit is Citizen Kane is just insane. What a career and contribution to film.

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Your analysis is right on. After I watched this film, I realized there were two main things that I liked about it:

1. Herrmann's score.
2. The ending. I loved the ending. I kept telling Ryan as he was driving away. Go back, go back.

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The cliff-climbing part of the score in this film is unique. Very different from the other romantic stuff.

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Very interesting observations.

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