Steven Kenet, suffering from a recurring brain injury, appears to have strangled his wife. Having confessed, he's committed to an understaffed county asylum full of pathetic inmates. There, Dr. Ann Lorrison is initially skeptical about Kenet's story and reluctance to undergo treatment. But against her better judgement, she begins to doubt his guilt, and endangers her career on a dangerous quest through dark streets awash with rain. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Powerful noir film with excellent direction and performances
The excellent German director Curtis Bernhardt made this powerful, brooding noir film complete with some expressionist lighting effects in the aftermath of the War. In it he expressed as well as anyone the trauma of the brain-injured returning war veterans, whose presence haunted America in the late 1940s. Robert Taylor gives a fine performance as a former colonel whose brain injury has returned, giving him headaches, partial amnesia, and violent mood swings. In this state, he returns home to find that his wife, a war bride, has become the mistress of a creepy religious publisher played to perfection with his most urbane and fastidious menace by Herbert Marshall. He falls into a rage and may or may not have strangled his straying wife. He wakes up, having collapsed, and confesses to the police. He is tormented by the death of his mother from the strain and the psychologically traumatised state of his son. He needs an emergency brain operation, and then is confined to an insane asylum for examination before being put on trial for murder. At the asylum, there is a touching portrayal of a pathetic inmate named Mr. Slocombe by H. B. Warner, the English actor who became one of Hollywood's best character actors and here surpasses himself. Into this mix comes the incomparable Audrey Totter, who added distinction to every film she was in. Here she is allowed to be a good girl rather than a bad girl. Anyone who has seen her work of two years later, 'Tension' (1949), knows she was capable of frying the audience with the passion of her acting. She plays a psychiatrist, with crisp efficient movements and a studied matter-of-factness which conceals her underlying passions. There is a wonderful uncredited cameo by Frank Jenks as a character named Pinky, who plays a character with a pivotal role in the inspired script. Will the truth be known? Can the hero be saved from someone's evil scheming? This is one of the more harrowing and nail-biting of such dramas. It is sophisticated and satisfying, and highly to be recommended. 'They don't make 'em like that any more.'
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