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>
This was Burt Lancaster's first movie role. He was the third choice for the part of The Swede, and was signed only after actors Wayne Morris and Sonny Tufts proved unavailable. Lancaster was an ex-circus acrobat from Union City, New Jersey. When producer Mark Hellinger saw the first rushes of Lancaster's performance in a private screening room, he was so pleased that he yelled "So help me, may all my actors be acrobats!" See more »
There were several errors involving the firearms used. When Burt robs his cohorts, the gun is obviously not real, probably rubber, because the barrel is pointed downward from the frame. If he were to shoot at someone's chest, the bullet would probably hit below the belt. When Edmond O'Brien is holding his pistol at the bad guy, he says it is a .45, but a trained eye can see that it is either a .32 or .380, most likely of Spanish origin. When Edmond asks Sam Levine if he has another .45 for him, Levine says yes, but the gun turns out to be a .38 revolver instead. See more »
I absolutely love this film! It's in my favorite genre, film noir, and it ranks among my favorites in that genre along with Out of the Past and Double Indemnity to name a few. Although there are a series of coincidences in the plot that stretch credibility, I believe they were necessary to maintain the pathos. In his first star turn, Burt Lancaster was excellent as the naive hood and Edmond O'Brien is likewise in his portrayal of the insurance investigator. He is almost always in a supporting role but that in no way diminishes his talent. But this movie is really Ava Gardner's. She never again had a role that fully realized her talents as much as Kitty Collins. Her portrayal of the manipulative and seductive but not altogether unsympathetic mistress is one the greatest of its kind. The last scene with her and Colfax shows this type of character in its most ignominous glory. Highest recommendation, 9/10.
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