To penetrate a gang exploiting illegal Mexican farmworkers smuggled into California (and leaving no live witnesses), Mexican federal agent Pablo Rodriguez poses as an ignorant bracero, while his American counterpart Jack Bearnes works from outside. Soon, both are in deadly danger from the ringleader, sinister rancher Owen Parkson, and find night on the farm to be full of shadowy film-noir menace... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Near movie's end, Pablo Rodriguez (Montalban) is almost fully submerged in quicksand. However, immediately upon being pulled out, he looks like he's had a shower; the quicksand that had been on his face and hair is completely gone. See more »
An underrated gem from the cannon of Anthony Mann. Two agents - one American, one Mexican - cooperate on an investigation into illegal immigrant farm labour. The bad guys are the people smugglers, and boy are they bad - evil, ruthless and sadistic. Contains scenes of extreme violence which Hollywood tolerated in certain westerns and noirs of the late 40's post-war era, and this is kind of a western noir crime movie with lots of vegetables. Its a movie that could give you nightmares, especially if you approach it unaware due to its age, that its actually quite disturbingly brutal and relentless.
Easily ranks as Ricardo Montoblan's finest performance, and only makes one baffled as to how he became such a shameless ham later in life with the likes of Fantasy Island. George Murphy, who plays the American agent, had a fascinating career. Dropping out of Yale to become a coal stoker, he switched to a tap dancing hoofer in 30's pictures, then a solid supporting actor in war pictures. Following the lead of his pal Ronnie Reagan he entered Republican politics, rising to become a member of the US Senate for California.
John Alton lensed this picture, and his monochrome work is a remarkably beautiful achievement. Only a year after this movie Alton would photograph An American In Paris - easily one the best Technicolor movies ever shot.
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