Second Chance (1953)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Release Date - Jul 18, 1953 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 82 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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A gripping, nailbiting climax is Second Chance's biggest asset, and it's a doozy alright. Granted, it's a fairly formulaic set-up, but the formula works well; it's hard not to be at least a little on the edge of one's seat when dealing with a dangling cable car with frayed cables. Director Rudolph Mate's work here is excellent, hitting all the right notes and clearly deciding that if some of those notes are familiar, he's still going to play them for all they're worth. If the rest of Chance was this good, it would be a treat. Unfortunately, most of what precedes the final sequence is fairly routine. The plotting is slipshod, with trite situations and cardboard characters, and there's a lack of focus and development that becomes irritating. William Snyder's cinematography provides some interest, but the decision to shoot in 3D means that too much time is wasted on meaningless 'effects' shots. Robert Mitchum looks good and Linda Darnell looks mesmerizing, but their performances are merely okay. Jack Palance, with one of his patented over-the-top turns, gives the film a welcome shot in the arm.