A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
Romantic, obsessive Steve Thompson is drawn back to L.A. to make another try for Anna, his former wife. However, Anna belongs now to the L.A. underworld. Steve believes he can rescue her, ignoring the advice and warnings of people who would try to save him. He commits himself to a dangerous course of action that quickly takes everyone somewhere unintended. Written by
Gritty noir the way I like it...ranks with the best...
1940's seedier side of Los Angeles makes a fitting noir background for this highly well made film noir starring BURT LANCASTER as the lovelorn hero foolish enough to go back to his ex-wife (extremely well played by YVONNE DE CARLO) who has taken up with a bunch of hoodlums headed by the sinister DAN DURYEA. True love never does run smooth, especially in this kind of fatalistic melodrama in which we have a hint from the very beginning of a dark conclusion.
The fact that Lancaster works for an armored car service is worked into the plot and makes for the movie's most suspenseful and action-filled moments. Some nice support from Stephen McNally as Lancaster's wise friend and Richard Long as his brother. Percy Felton does a standout job as an inquisitive bartender.
Robert Siodmak squeezes every bit of suspense as the story builds to a gripping climax. The hospital scene is extremely effective as Lancaster becomes aware of the dangerous situation he's in.
Lancaster displays some vulnerability and sensitivity despite his rugged good looks and has one of his best early roles here, even more impressive than he was in THE KILLERS. Miklos Rozsa's superb background score gives a jagged edge to the suspense.
Any lover of B&W film noir is guaranteed to find pleasure in this one.
Trivia: If you watch real closely, you'll spot the young Tony Curtis as de Carlo's dance partner in the crowded nightclub scene.
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