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This neat little thriller was directed by Richard Fleischer at the beginning of his "noir" period. He got better at it after this one--the terrific "Narrow Margin" and "Armored Car Robbery"--but this is still a good one, if a bit too slow at times.
Lloyd Bridges is a convicted counterfeiter serving time when he cuts a deal with the Treasury Department. It seems that when he was nabbed, his partner kept the plates and now almost flawless counterfeit currency is flooding Los Angeles. The feds believe it's Bridges' partner, and they'll cut his sentence in exchange for letting him out to find his partner and retrieve the plates. Once he gets out, however, he double-crosses them and plans to get the plates himself. As it turns out, Bridges isn't quite as slick as he thinks he is, and things start to go south rather quickly. Although not quite as fast-paced as Fleischer's better-known thrillers, it benefits tremendously from Bridges' presence. He's very tightly wound in this one, and quite a bit more brutal than you would expect him to be, even playing a bad guy. Tragic figure Barbara Payton actually does quite well as his floozy girlfriend, and the sinister John Hoyt does an excellent job as a somewhat enigmatic character who turns out to be not quite what he seems.
Good atmosphere and some neat plot--and other--twists make this a good companion piece to Fleischer's later noirs, and definitely worth a watch.
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