Inferno (1953 movie)

Inferno is a 1953 American film noir drama / thriller starring Robert Ryan , William Lundigan and Rhonda Fleming , directed by Roy Ward Baker . It was shot in Technicolor and shown in 3-D Dimension and stereophonic sound on prints for the few theaters equipped for that sound system in 1953. [2]


During a trip to the Mojave Desert , a millionaire Donald Carson III, having broken his leg, he was abandoned and left to die by Geraldine, his adulterous wife, and a mining engineer Joe Duncan, a man she known for just a few days.

Gerry and Joe leave the injured man a blanket, a canteen and a gun before driving off, supposedly to seek medical aid. As the hours go by Carson realizes the truth of his predicament, he wants to live long enough to exact revenge against his wife and her accomplice.

Carson is reported missing to police lieutenant Mike Platt and to Dave Emory, who is Carson’s lawyer and business manager. Gerry does not mention the broken leg and claims her husband wandered off. Emporium is not yet too much concerned because it is a temperamental alcoholic who has acted irresponsibly more than once.

The lovers fly to Carson ‘s mansion in Los Angeles knowing that Carson is a good 60 miles from where they told the police to look. They expect him to succumb to the desert heat or to shoot himself with the gun. Far more resourceful than they anticipate, Carson manages to make a splint, then crawl his way to an abandoned mine, where he uses timber for a makeshift crutch. He finds sustenance from the meat of a cactus and attempts in vain to shoot a rabbit with the gun. He later succeeds in shooting a deer and hanging the meat to dry, assuring his survival.

When it rains, after Gerry and Joe are gone, Gerry and Joe are connected. Carson is presumed dead by the law. Joe flies a plane over the region, just in case, and spots to fire Carson has made. Knowing now he’s alive, Joe finds it necessary to drive back to the desert and finish off Carson once and for all.

Gerry waits in the car while Joe stalks his prey. Just as he likes his gun, Joe is starting by the sight of Carson being found by an old prospector driving a jalopy. Returning to his own car, Joe discovers that Gerry has run it into a rock. He realizes that she was going to be there and leave him there. Joe angrily walks away, leaving Gerry to fend for herself.

In a desert shack, Elby the prospector gives food and water to Carson, who says it’s what it’s going to be. Joe, who spotted the shack. Joe then attempts to kill Carson, but is engaged in a brutal fistfight. A toppled stove causes the shack to catch fire. With both men inside barely conscious, Elby has recovered to be able to drag him to safety.

From the car, Gerry is seen walking by herself along a remote road. Carson calmly tells her that she can wait for the authorities to come back to her. She gets into the car.


  • Robert Ryan as Donald Whitley Carson III
  • Rhonda Fleming as Geraldine Carson
  • William Lundigan as Joseph Duncan
  • Larry Keating as Dave Emory
  • Henry Hull as Sam Elby
  • Carl Betz as Lt. Mike Platt
  • Robert Burton as Sheriff
  • Robert Adler as Ken, Ranch Hand
  • Harry Carter as Deputy Fred Parks
  • Everett Glass as Mason, Carson’s Butler
  • Adrienne Marden as Emory’s Secretary
  • Barbara Pepper as Waitress
  • Charles Tannen as radio broadcaster
  • Dan White Lee, Ranch Hand


Inferno is 20th Century Fox’s first, yet belated, foray into the world of 3-D movie , a prevalent cinema fad in the 1950s. [3]

Inferno was rehearsed for television in 1973 as Ordeal, with Arthur Hill in the Robert Ryan part and Diana Muldaur and James Stacy as his would-be murderers. [4]


Revival screenings

On February 1, 2013, Inferno was shown in digital 3-D in a double feature with Man in the Dark (1953) in the Black City Film Festival at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. [5]

Inferno has been made available on Hulu in anaglyph 3D (not its native format).

Inferno was released as a 3D Blu-ray disk, from an excellent print, first from Panamint in Scotland and later by Twilight Time in the United States.

Critical response

When the film was released, The New York Times gave the film a positive review and lauded the direction of the picture and the acting, writing, “[A] s fragmentary realism the picture rings true and persuasive.” Mr. Ryan’s portrayal of the gritty , determined protagonist is, of course, a natural, Miss Fleming, one of Hollywood’s coolest, prettiest villainesses, knows how to handle literate dialogue, which, in this case, she shares. ” [6]

In a positive review, Time Out Film Guide called the film, “A tight and involving essay in suspense which works on the ingenious idea of ​​leaving the audience alone in the desert with an unsympathetic and selfish character,” and noted the finer aspects of the 3-Dimension film, writing, ” Inferno was one of the best and last movies to be made in 3-D during the boom in the early ’50s.Considerably its use of space emphasized the dramatic possibilities of 3-D and reveals, as more than one person has watched, that the device had been squandered in other movies made at the time. ” [7]

Film critic Dennis Schwartz liked the film and wrote, “Inferno loses something when not seen in 3-D as intended when released, but it still remains a thrilling survival thriller.It makes good use of 3-D, in fact it does it better Lucien Ballard is stunning. [8]

See also

  • List of 3D movies


  1. Jump up^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989.ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. P248
  2. Jump up^ Inferno onIMDb.
  3. Jump up^ World 3-D Film Expo IIweb site, September 13, 2006. Last accessed: December 12, 2007.
  4. Jump up^ Ordeal (1973 television movie) onIMDb.
  5. Jump up^ Black City movie festival website
  6. Jump up^ The New York Times . Film review, August 12, 1953. Last accessed: December 12, 2007.
  7. Jump up^ Time Out Movie Guide. Time Out-New York, movie review, 2006. Last accessed: December 12, 2007.
  8. Jump up^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus’ World Movie Reviews, movie review, November 14, 2005. Last Access: December 1, 2009.