A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
The ambitious Stanton "Stan" Carlisle works in a sideshow as carny and assistant of the mentalist Zeena Krumbein, who is married with the alcoholic Pete. The couple had developed a secret ... See full summary »
In New York, after seven years in prison, the lawyer Max Monetti goes to the bank of his brothers Joe, Tony and Pietro Monetti and promises revenge to them. Then he visits his lover Irene ... See full summary »
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Edward G. Robinson,
A young woman, Poppy, out for excitement in Shanghai, enters a gambling house owned by "Mother" Gin Sling, a dragon-lady who worked herself up from poverty to buy the casino. Sir Guy ... See full summary »
In 1928, young heiress Martha Ivers fails to run off with friend Sam Masterson, and is involved in fatal events. Years later, Sam returns to find Martha the power behind Iverstown and married to "good boy" Walter O'Neil, now district attorney. At first, Sam is more interested in displaced blonde Toni Marachek than in his boyhood friends; but they draw him into a convoluted web of plotting and cross-purposes. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is a well-written, well-acted, thoroughly absorbing film noir. The always-great Barbara Stanwyck is at her sultriest as Martha, and Van Heflin is incredibly sexy and masculine as Sam. Watching this movie, you wouldn't think Kirk Douglas, who plays the weak-willed, alcoholic Walter, would soon become a bigger star than Heflin and play the tough, romantic hero parts like Sam Masterson. Douglas excelled at those parts, as he did with a very different type of part in this movie, but I can't help thinking that if Heflin had gotten more of those roles, he would have been just as big a star. Husky-voiced Lizabeth Scott rounds out the star foursome nicely as Toni, a wrong-side-of-the-tracks girl who's been burned by trusting the wrong men. This movie, more than most of its era, trades in shades of gray; the "bad" characters, Martha and Walter, have reasons for the evil they do, while the "good" characters, Sam and Toni, are no angels--he's a decorated war hero, but he makes his living by gambling and once killed a man in self-defense, while she just got out of jail. This complexity adds to the film's interest. The film also provides a believable depiction of small-town life; it's realistic, no Bedford Falls. The flashback portraying several of the characters as teenagers has the spark of reality as well. Highly recommended.
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