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Theatrical release lobby card
Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Produced by William Bloom
Written by Francis M. Cockrell
Starring Robert Ryan
Rhonda Fleming
William Lundigan
Music by Paul Sawtell
Cinematography Lucien Ballard
Editing by Robert L. Simpson
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox
Release date(s) August 12, 1953
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Inferno (1953) is a film noir drama/thriller directed by Roy Ward Baker, 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.[1]



The drama tells the story of spoiled and alcoholic millionaire Carson (Robert Ryan). During a trip to the Mojave Desert Carson breaks his leg after falling off his horse and is abandoned and left to die by Geraldine (Rhonda Fleming), his adulterous femme fatale wife, and his deceitful business partner Joseph Duncan (William Lundigan).

After the accident, Geraldine and Duncan supposedly drive off to seek medical aid for Carson. But, when Carson realizes the truth of his dilemma, he vows to live long enough to exact revenge against his wife and partner.



Inferno is 20th Century Fox's first, yet belated, foray into the world of 3-D film, a prevalent cinema fad in the 1950s.[2]

Critical reception

Geraldine Carson and Joseph Duncan talk about the plan to leave her husband in the desert and die.

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."[3]

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. Certainly its use of space emphasized the dramatic possibilities of 3-D and reveals, as more than one person has observed, that the device had largely been squandered in other films made at the time."[4]

Film critic Dennis Schwartz liked the film and wrote, "Inferno loses something when not seen in 3-D as intended when released, nevertheless it remains as a taut survival thriller. It makes good use of 3-D, in fact it does it better than most other such gimmicky films...The desert photography by Lucien Ballard is stunning.[5]


Inferno was remade 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.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Inferno at the Internet Movie Database.
  2. ^ World 3-D Film Expo II web site, September 13, 2006. Last accessed: December 12, 2007.
  3. ^ The New York Times. Film review, August 12, 1953. Last accessed: December 12, 2007.
  4. ^ Time Out Film Guide. Time Out-New York, film review, 2006. Last accessed: December 12, 2007.
  5. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, November 14, 2005. Last access: December 1, 2009.
  6. ^ Ordeal (1973 television film) at the Internet Movie Database.

External links



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