A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To show Al traveling west, shots of a U.S. map, with camera scanning right to left, are interspersed with shots of him hitch hiking. The sequence makes sense to us because Al, his rides, and the camera's movement across the map, all travel in the same direction (right to left). Later the direction is reversed (left to right) to depict Al returning back east from L.A. Without a quantity of westward bound shots he could use nor the means to shoot new ones, Ulmer simply had the eastward bound (left to right) shots reverse printed and used them to show Al traveling to, rather than from, L.A. This is why in the beginning of the movie we see Al hitch with his left thumb and ride in right hand drive cars. See more »
(possibly deliberate) In the Reno diner, Joe the truck driver asks Al about his plans. Al says he is headed east and Joe tells him is driving north to Salt Lake City. Salt Lake is east of Reno. See more »
This is one of the all-time great examples of film noir. It can practically be used to define the genre: shadowy black and white cinematography; a star-crossed protagonist ("...fate sticks out a leg to trip you."); a femme fatale (the unforgettable Ann Savage as Vera); cynical voice-over narration; ambiguous morality. All these elements are brought together magnificently by director Edgar G. Ulmer, who incredibly made this movie in several days on a shoestring budget. His direction is so masterful that the low budget sets only add to the film. This is a great masterpiece and one of the marvels in film history.
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