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.
Johnny Farrell is a gambling cheat who turns straight to work for an unsettling casino owner Ballin Mundson. But things take a turn for Johnny as his alluring ex-lover appears as Mundson's wife, and Mundson's machinations begin to unravel.
Two professional killers invade a small town and kill a gas station attendant, "the Swede," who's expecting them. Insurance investigator Reardon pursues the case against the orders of his boss, who considers it trivial. Weaving together threads of the Swede's life, Reardon uncovers a complex tale of treachery and crime, all linked with gorgeous, mysterious Kitty Collins. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The boxing match in the third flashback was filmed in a boxing arena for an audience of 2000 spectators. Burt Lancaster trained for two months with a boxing champion and played the part of the Swede with realism, against a real boxer, until his 2nd KD and TKO. See more »
In the jail house scene, Charleston (Vince Barnett) tells The Swede (Burt Lancaster) of his love for the stars. As he looks out the window, he says that he says he sees Orion and a prominent star, Betelgeuse. He says that Orion is the "Great Bear" and that Betelgeuse is the "brightest star in the sky." Orion is actually The Hunter. Ursa Major (containing the Big Dipper) is the Great Bear. Betelgeuse, while quite bright, is actually the 9th brightest star. See more »
How well did you know the Swede?
Me? Mister, I guess me and the Swede were about as close as two guys can get. For nearly two years we weren't more than eight and a half feet apart. That's how big the cell was.
See more »
I was surprised when I looked at IMDb's list of highest rated film noir pictures, since this movie was well down the list. This review and my subsequent review for DOA are being made to try to correct this oversight. Also note that there was a re-make of this film in 1964 starring Lee Marvin and Ronald Reagan. This review is for the original film only.
This is one of the most stylistic noir pictures made. Like the FANTASTIC opening of Sunset Boulevard, this movie STARTS with the murder of a poor sap and then backtracks to let the viewer slowly understand why this occurred. Surprisingly, the part given to the murder victim in this movie is played by Burt Lancaster in his first picture--what a great first film! Other reasons I liked the film were the cast (I like ugly old Edmund O'Brien--a stand-out noir actor because he is unattractive, beefy and delivers lines like it was from an episode of Dragnet), writing (it keeps you guessing), direction and impressive cinematography.
Do yourself a favor and see it soon.
20 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?