One Way Street. 1950. USA. Directed by Hugo Fregonese. Screenplay by Lawrence Kimble. With James Mason, Marta Toren, Dan Duryea, Basil Ruysdael, William Conrad, Rodolfo Acosta. 35mm print courtesy of Universal Pictures. 79 min.
After a fruitless period at MGM, Fregonese moved to the more genre-friendly Universal, where he found a sympathetic producer in Leonard Goldstein. British newcomer James Mason plays a cynical physician who seizes the moment by betraying his boss, sadistic gang leader Dan Duryea, by running off with both his mistress (Marta Toren) and the loot from a recent robbery. Chance points the fleeing couple to a small village in Mexico, where the doctor’s long-dormant idealism is reawakened by the villagers’ desperate need for medical care. But even this flowering—a burst of sunshine between dark nights—provides only temporary respite from the leveling hand of fate, here represented by slashing diagonal compositions that lead the characters down the darkest of paths.