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In pursuit of stolen aircraft engines on a Central American island, federal agent Rigby meets chief suspect Hintten and his wife Elizabeth, a sultry cafe singer; and is watched by Bealer, a "pie-shaped man" with sore feet. Rigby knows he's on the right track when Bealer offers him money to leave Carlota. When Rigby and Elizabeth are drawn to each other, the gang realizes there's more than one kind of bribe. Everybody sweats. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Standard crime story with great atmoshpere and top players
This is a fasinating example of film noir elements grafted on to an ordenary crime thriller, there is also romance between Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner, but thats a weaker part of the story. Taylor is to wooden in his role as a federal agent, Robert Mitchum would have been more suitable for this kind of film. But there are som nice noir caracters in the supporting roles, and director Robert Z Leonard contrasts effectivly the down at the heel feeling, with the surface glitter of the big town criminals who move trough it, giving the film a glossy look that at the same time is filled with an atmosphere of moral corruption. Ava Gardner is very beatiful in this early role, and she makes the most of it, Charles Laughton is very good as the sly henchman, oily and treacherous, he creats a fasinating character of a small role, a sort of unshaven Quasimodo, who sweats a lot and have trouble with sour feets. He is both human, weak and repulsive at the same time. Vincent Price is the suave villain, his playboy sportsman is both naive and evil but more icy than most of his roles of this kind, and he gives a fine performance. John Hodiak is a broken down ex-pilot, with alcoholic problems, a small role but well played. All these supporting players give the film a definite noir feeling, as well as Joseph Ruttenbergs moody graphics and Miklos Rozas score, also telling the story in flashback with Taylor narrating while recovering from beeing druged, gives the story a feeling of defeat and betrayal. The settings are dirty and seedy and the climate steamy, and the usual glossy high MGM production values, gives the footage a feeling of tropical heat. The story is a little slow moving, but the final shot-out between Taylor and villain Price during a carnival, is stylish and intersting as the element of death and joy are effectivley juxtaposed.
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