A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
In flashback, New York nightclub pianist Al Roberts hitchhikes to Hollywood to join his girl Sue. On a rainy night, the sleazy gambler he's riding with mysteriously dies; afraid of the police, Roberts takes the man's identity. But thanks to a blackmailing dame, Roberts' every move plunges him deeper into trouble... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Errol Morris' favorite film. He said of it: "It has an unparalleled quality of despair, totally unrelieved by hope." See more »
After meeting up with Roberts, Vera's hair continually changes while riding in the convertible. See more »
Money. You know what that is, the stuff you never have enough of. Little green things with George Washington's picture that men slave for, commit crimes for, die for. It's the stuff that has caused more trouble in the world than anything else we ever invented, simply because there's too little of it.
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Al Roberts (Tom Neal) is a depressed NYC piano player whose girlfriend leaves him to try her luck in CA. He follows her by hitchhiking his way. He's picked up by a man who (inexplicably) dies while Al is driving. Naturally Al does everything wrong...like dumping the body and then picking up Vera (Ann Savage) a totally amoral woman. Then things barrel horribly out of control.
You can quibble about plot points (a certain death is highly implausible) but this IS a masterpiece of the genre. It's one of the grimmest film noirs of its time. It was made by a poverty row studio (PRC) on no budget. Actually the lack of budget helps the story--everything appears dark and grim fitting the tone of the story. Also they had an excellent director (Edgar G. Ulmer) and a great script by Martin Goldsmith. Also Neal was very good as Roberts and Savage is exceptional as Vera (there's a scene where she explodes at Roberts in a car which is truly scary). It's also all wrapped up in a tight economical 69 minutes. This has deservedly been a cult movie for many years.
Good luck finding a clear print with good sound.
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