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Annie van Ees,
Albert van Dalsum,
Jenny Marsh, still dangerously attractive after 5 years in prison for killing a man in defense of her shady lover Harry, clashes at first with parole officer Griff Marat, who's determined to make Jenny go straight. For lack of other prospects Griff finds Jenny a job in his own home, and his objectivity about her wavers, while Jenny continues to meet Harry secretly. However, when Jenny transfers her affections from Harry to Griff, the situation becomes even more dangerous... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Director Douglas Sirk signed to make this film on the basis of Sam Fuller's original screenplay, which was called "The Lovers" and ended in a shoot-out. Co-producer Helen Deutsch rewrote the script and added a cop-out ending Sirk disliked. Sirk later said Deutsch's script changes ruined the film by depriving it of the sense of doom in Fuller's original story. See more »
If the movie were an airplane, then it wobbled a lot before finally crashing and burning with an utterly illogical ending. Up to that point, this crime drama is mediocre at best. The best part follows the couple (Wilde and Knight) as they flee the cops after running out on Knight's parole and in the process sinking into society's lower depths. That 20 minute sequence is done with both flair and zip.
Director Douglas Sirk is known for artistic soap opera, so it's not surprising that this film emphasizes the love story over the crime element. The trouble is that Wilde is woodenly uninvolving, while Knight's character remains muddled, to say the least. A key part of the plot lies in tracking her evolving emotions. But that's hard to do since these developments are confusingly portrayed, helped neither by the turgid script nor by Knight's thespic limitations. Apparently cult movie-maker Sam Fuller co-authored some of the screenplay, which, on the face of it, seems hard to believe. Nonetheless, I'm sure he had nothing to do with the ridiculous climax that instead smacks of outside interference of the most thoughtless kind.
Calling this a noir film is, I think, a stretch. It's certainly not filmed as noir, with none of the usual trademark light and shadow. True, the plot contains a number of noirish elements, but Sirk's style doesn't bring these out in recognizably noir fashion. Even so, the many SoCal location shots are both entertaining and appropriate for crime drama. (Too bad we don't get more of the dingy oil field setting, which has definite and exotic noir potential.) But noir or not, this is a rather poorly done crime drama, having neither the force nor the panache of the better examples of the period. With better casting, a more cogent screenplay, and more attention to the oil field, this could have been a memorable film.
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