When he learns that a gangster has taken over his nightclub and murdered his partner, returning WW2 hero Joe Miracle steals the money from the club's safe and hides in a settlement home, while the mob is on his tail.
Just before Christmas, Joe Miracle, a returning WWII war hero, comes home to learn that gangster Barney Teener has taken over his nightclub and murdered Joe's partner. Joe loots the club's safe for $100,000 and then finds sanctuary in a settlement house ran by Jenny Jones. Mistaking him for a down-and-out musician, she helps him understand the importance of her work. "Early" Byrd, a newspaper columnist, learns Joe's true identity and writes a column that puts Barney on his trail. The gangsters recover the money, after setting fire to the settlement house, but Joe steals it again, and returns to the gutted welfare house disguised as Santa Claus, and gives the money to Jenny to rebuild. There, Tenner and his gang catch up to Joe. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The credentials for a superb Noir are all there: Glenn Ford has been one of the most convincing (and still strangely unsung) anti-heroes American cinema has produced. The wonderful opening sequence (in which Ford escapes both the police and the mob) is as minimalistic ally brilliant as the seemingly tight budget would have allowed. Yet after only a short while the film's tone changes radically: sweeter music, romantic comedy and a (however underplayed) Christmas tear-jerker emerge from what promised to be a crisp, economic little masterpiece.
I'm not saying the uneven pacing ruin the film completely but my suspicion is, looking at the credits (no, I don't mean the cast which features a wonderfully noir-ish array of characters: Evelyn Keyes, John Ireland, Ted de Corsia) there are TWO directors (one made good noirs with Ford, the other made Rat Pack flicks with Sinatra, Davis Jr, Martin et al), TWO directors of photography...
For what it's worth my guess is the producer got cold feet and hired a second director to save (a lame comedy? a routine noir?) a product he wasn't very happy with. He probably made a mistake...
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