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 astronomy lesson in the prison cell is a disaster. Not only is the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major) nowhere near Orion, but the star Betelgeuse is improperly identified as the brightest star in the sky - however, Sirius, which IS the brightest star in the sky, is close to Orion. Nonetheless, those books weren't helping out as much as thought. See more »
When they're making their getaway from the robbery, the camera crew is reflected in the windshield of the truck they're hiding behind. 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.
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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.
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