DANGEROUS CROSSING. 20th Century Fox, 1953. Jeanne Crain, Michael Rennie, Max Showalter (as Casey Adams), Carl Betz, Mary Anderson, Marjorie Hoshelle, Willis Bouchey. Based on the radio play “Cabin B-13” by John Dickson Carr. Director: Joseph M. Newman.

   You probably know the story, or one very much like it. After a young honeymooning couple board a trans-Atlantic ocean liner in New York City, married for only a day, the husband (Carl Betz) goes off to run an errand at the purser’s office and promptly disappears. The new bride (Jeanne Crain) simply can’t believe it.

   An intensive search takes place and shows that the husband is nowhere on board. The couple’s stateroom is empty, the wife’s luggage is in a room down the corridor, and most telling, there’s no one on board who can even say they saw the two of them together.

   There is only one person is not thoroughly convinced that she is crazy, and that’s the ship’s doctor (Michael Rennie). If not for him, the new Mrs. Bowman would surely think she has gone mad.

   To my mind, this is one of the great suspense movies of all time — or at least it could have been and should have been. It begins well, but it doesn’t maintain the same sharp, keen edge it should have over the full length of the movie.

   It does have its moments, however. You certainly should not watch this film if you suffer from any of the ten warning signs of paranoia. The ocean crossing is a foggy one, with the constant blaring of foghorns, and that helps considerably. Nonetheless, as you sit there watching, you’ll probably begin to wonder what might have happened if someone like Alfred Hitchcock had gotten his hands on it.

— Reprinted from Mystery*File #24, August 1990. (slightly expanded and revised).