Kirk Bennett is falsely sentenced to death for killing blackmailer Mavis Marlowe, ex-wife of nice-guy drunk Martin Blair. Bennett's stand-up wife Catherine tries to prove him innocent, enlisting the aid of Blair, who falls in love with her. Bennett's execution draws near as the two pose as piano player and singer, trying to get the goods on sleazy nightclub owner Marko, a prime suspect. Failing to nail Marko, Catherine goes off to meet with her husband, scheduled to die the next morning, and Blair slips into an alcoholic stupor before the real killer is revealed. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This interesting, creative film-noir is much less widely known than are most of the classics of the genre, but it is well worth seeing both for the story and the cast. In a relatively brief running time, it packs in a satisfying and unpredictable story with numerous turns, with a very good cast that work together quite well. The settings are well-conceived, and together with the photography and the rest of the production, they establish a convincing noir atmosphere.
Dan Duryea is always so good at straightforward villainous "noir" roles that he sometimes seems not to have received many opportunities to do anything else, and so it's very nice to see him get such an interesting role here. He delivers very well, believably portraying the different sides of a more complex character. He also works surprisingly well with June Vincent, as together they try to solve the mystery.
Peter Lorre does not have a very large role, but as you would expect, he makes the most of it. Toss in Broderick Crawford as the police captain, and you have a cast very well suited for film-noir.
The story is not all that complex, but it is well-written, features some well-conceived turns, and fits together nicely. Roy William Neill has a good touch with the material, not trying to make it fancier or bigger than it is, but simply crafting a solid, enjoyable movie that has just about all that you could reasonably ask for in a film-noir.
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