During the campaign for reelection, the crooked politician Paul Madvig decides to clean up his past, refusing the support of the gangster Nick Varna and associating to the respectable ... See full summary »
A woman secretly suffering from kleptomania is hypnotized in an effort to cure her condition. Soon afterwards, she is found at the scene of a murder with no memory of how she got there and seemingly no way to prove her innocence.
Thelma Jordon is in love with a jewel thief, Tony Laredo, and he persuades her to go live with her rich aunt, and steal her jewels. During the robbery, she shoots her formerly-rich aunt, ... See full summary »
Michael O'Hara, against his better judgement, hires on as a crew member of Arthur Bannister's yacht, sailing to San Francisco. They pick up Grisby, Bannister's law partner, en route. Bannister has a wife, Rosalie, who seems to like Michael much better than she likes her husband. After they dock in Sausalito, Michael goes along with Grisby's weird plan to fake his (Grisby's) murder so he can disappear untailed. He wants the $5000 Grisby has offered, so he can run off with Rosalie. But Grisby turns up actually murdered, and Michael gets blamed for it. Somebody set him up, but it is not clear who or how. Bannister (the actual murderer?) defends Michael in court. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
When the film was screened for Columbia president Harry Cohn, he found it so incomprehensible he offered to pay $1,000 to anyone who could explain the plot to him. Later he decided to clarify the film by beginning it with the trial scene and telling the preceding part of the story in flashbacks, but abandoned the plan because so much new footage would have had to be shot it would have nearly doubled the film's cost. See more »
When Mr. and Mrs Bannister are talking on a bench in the courthouse, he is taking a drag on a cigarette. A moment later, the cigarette is resting in his hand on top of his cane. See more »
Visually stunning, but badly written and acted film noir
Apparently Welles made this film to help finance a Mercury Theatre production. It shows. It's sloppy.
The film noir plot is complex. Too complex for Welles, it's riddled with holes. The whole thing hinges on O'Hara behaving in ways that only a fool would even consider. Hayworth is stunning but equally idiotic as the femme fatale. However, Everett Sloane and Glenn Anders are good fun as the Hayworth's crippled, hot-shot criminal defence lawyer, husband and his giggling, slimy business partner, although their performances hinge on caricature rather than character.
The trial scene is hilarious, but in ways that were probably not entirely intended by Welles. Sloane is defending Welles on a murder charge, but then both Sloane and Hayworth, Sloane's wife, get called as witnesses for the prosecution without notice. The whole thing is farcical, so farcical indeed that Welles's character decides to scarper. Visually the section that follows is one of the most stunning I have seen.
Finally, Welles's Irish accent was awful. There did not appear to be any reason for it. His character could just as easily have been an American for all the difference it made to the plot.
In all, the whole is one of the most laughable film noirs I have ever seen.
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