Kathy leaves the newspaper business to marry homicide detective Bill but is frustrated by his lack of ambition and the banality of life in the suburbs. Her drive to advance Bill's career soon takes her down a dangerous path.
Returning a lost wallet gains unemployed veteran Chuck Scott a job as chauffeur to Eddie Roman, a seeming gangster whose enemies have a way of meeting violent ends. The job proves nerve-wracking, and soon Chuck finds himself pledged to help Eddie's lovely, fearful, prisoner-wife Lorna to escape. The result leaves Chuck caught like a rat in a trap, vainly seeking a way out through dark streets. But the real chase begins when the strange plot virtually starts all over again... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
"The Hedda Hopper Show - This Is Hollywood" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 9, 1946 with Robert Cummings and Michèle Morgan reprising their film roles. See more »
In the car after the chicken run with the train, Gino lights a cigarette in close-up. Cut to a wider angle, and he's again lighting the cigarette. Back to close-up, and his hand is now at his side, with the cigarette out of frame until he raises it to take a puff. See more »
A troubled ex-serviceman gets a job with a crime boss and his disturbed wife.
A 'find' for me and perhaps for other fans of noir. The 80-minutes are a perfect blend of dark visuals and surreal story. Frankly, when I think noir, I don't think Bob Cummings, an excellent light comedy actor, but hardly a figure of depth. But here, he essays the role of the troubled vet in subtle and persuasive ways. The nightclub scenes in Havana are particularly revealing, as the chaotic gaiety swirls around Scott (Cummings) and his spacey lover Lorna (Morgan)a perfect metaphor for their circumstance.
A number of touches make this a memorable film. Casting Lorre as Gino was a coup, since his quietly devilish imp casts a background shadow over the proceedings. That's significant because Cochran, the alleged crime boss, comes across as a rather charming fellow even if he's behind dark deeds. Then there's that scene in the wine cellar, unlike any I've seen, and shrewdly abbreviated to catch the imagination. Also, catch Lorna's cameo framing through the porthole with shadows rising and falling over her face, as her nature itself migrates between light and dark. Add to the mix a speeding locomotive as the hand of fate, and a weirdly backseat driver that really is a backseat driver, and you've got an appropriately noirish race against time. And, of course, mustn't leave out the final scene so perfectly calibrated to end the film on a provocatively surreal note.
The movie's full of such imaginative twists and turns as penned by two of the best in the business, Woolrich and Yordan. I'm not sure why the movie's generally overlooked in the noir canon, perhaps because of Bob Cummings and his lightweight reputation, plus the lack of a true spider woman. Nonetheless, it's a provocative little gem, and one that prompts rare second thoughts long after the screen has gone dark.
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