Dangerous Crossing

Dangerous Crossing is a 1953 American film noir mystery film directed by Joseph M. Newman and starring Jeanne Crain and Michael Rennie, based on the 1943 play Cabin B-13 by John Dickson Carr.[1] The plot of the film centers on the gaslighting of a female protagonist aboard a cruise vessel.

Dangerous Crossing
Dangerous Crossing poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoseph M. Newman
Screenplay byLeo Townsend
Based on"Cabin B-13"
1943 radio play
by John Dickson Carr
Produced byRobert Bassler
StarringJeanne Crain
Michael Rennie
CinematographyJoseph LaShelle
Edited byWilliam H. Reynolds
Color processBlack and white
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • August 7, 1953 (1953-08-07)
Running time
75 minutes
CountryUnited States


Attractive newlywed Ruth (Stanton) Bowman (Jeanne Crain) joyously starts a honeymoon cruise to Europe with her husband John Bowman (Carl Betz), only to have him go missing shortly after they check into their cabin. Compounding her confusion, Ruth finds that she is registered solo under her maiden name in a different cabin and that none of the crew members who could have seen her husband on the ship remember him. These include the ship's purser (Gayne Whitman), stewardess Anna Quinn (Mary Anderson), and second officer Jim Logan (Max Showalter). After she talks to the captain (Willis Bouchey), he orders the ship searched for the missing John Bowman. However, the captain notices that Ruth isn't even wearing a wedding ring, and the crew begin suggesting Ruth is mentally unbalanced.

That night, John telephones Ruth with a cryptic warning not to trust anyone. A divorcee traveling solo (Marjorie Hoshelle) and the stewardess take an interest in Ruth. Meanwhile, Dr. Manning (Michael Rennie) starts a sympathetic search for the facts, spends time with Ruth, assuming a clinical demeanour and getting her to open up about the recent death of her father, a wealthy steel executive.

Ruth decides to put on an act and agrees that she's been foolish, but mysterious things continue to happen. Ruth and Dr. Manning get closer, and a man who walks with a cane seems to stalk her.

Then the stewardess is revealed as conspiring with someone (by phone) to make Ruth seem unstable. Dr. Manning confronts Ruth over the fact that her marriage was either secret or non-existent. She explains that John wanted it to be quick and quiet and talks about an uncle who might scheme to get her inheritance.

John calls again and asks to meet Ruth on deck but runs into the fog when he hears others approach. When Ruth escapes from the ship crew chasing her, ending up in the dance room where she is trapped and making a scene of despair, the captain demands that she be locked in her cabin. She is sedated and a strict nurse prevents her from demanding anything.

Then John is revealed to be Barlowe, the third mate, under Dr. Manning's care all along for a claimed illness. When he learns Ruth has been locked in, he asks the stewardess to enable her escape. When they meet again, John attempts to throw Ruth overboard (mentioning the money of the inheritance he would get as a motive) but is stopped by Dr. Manning, who has followed her. It is John who goes overboard in the fight.

Later, Dr. Manning comforts Ruth, and the captain apologizes in the name of all who didn't believe her and explains that the stewardess confessed.



The radio play Cabin B-13 was very popular when broadcast in 1943 and had been adapted for TV in 1948.[2]

Film rights were bought by 20th Century Fox, which started production in 1952 under the name Ship Story. Corinne Calvert and Gary Merrill were the original leads. Joseph M. Newman was originally meant to direct a film called The Raid but it was having casting issues and the director was under contract to the studio, so they transferred him to Ship Story.[3]

Eventually the lead roles were assigned to Fox contract stars Jeanne Crain and Michael Rennie. Filming started January 1953.[4]

Joseph Newman later recalled it was "a very low budget picture. At that time Twentieth Century Fox wanted to cut down on costs. But I think it was a good mystery. Crain and Rennie were both delightful people and pleasant to work with."[5]


Critical responseEdit

The film critic for The New York Times gave a lukewarm review, writing

Although it maintains an eerie quality and suspense through the first half of its footage, Dangerous Crossing, which arrived at the Globe yesterday, is only a mildly engrossing adventure ... While sound effects, background music and shipboard sets lend a peculiar fascination to the melodrama, the acting of the cast adds little tautness to the proceedings. As the beleaguered heiress Jeanne Crain is beautiful but not entirely convincing in the role ... Dangerous Crossing, in effect, is intriguing only part of the way.... Thereafter, it is a commonplace trip.[6]


  1. ^ Dangerous Crossing at IMDb.
  2. ^ Cabin B-13 at IMDb
  3. ^ Pryor, Thomas M. (9 December 1952). "Gunplay in Texas on Film Schedule; Dana Andrews and Randolph Scott Set for Hard Shooting, Riding in New Pictures". The New York Times. p. 43. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  4. ^ Pryor, Thomas M. (3 January 1953). "Columbia Snaps Up 'Big Heat' for Film; McGivern's Magazine Story Is Crime Expose—Studio Seeks Robinson, Muni and Raft". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  5. ^ Davis, Ronald L. (2005). Just Making Movies. Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi. p. 166. ISBN 1578066905. OCLC 1035917770. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  6. ^ A. W. (30 September 1953). "'Dangerous Crossing' Arrives at the Globe—Jeanne Crain and Michael Rennie Take Leads; At the Globe". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 April 2020.

External linksEdit