A female ex-convict meets a handsome man and they begin seeing one another. Jeopardizing their relationship is her not telling him she was in prison and he not revealing his involvement ... See full summary »
A female ex-convict meets a handsome man and they begin seeing one another. Jeopardizing their relationship is her not telling him she was in prison and he not revealing his involvement with her parole officer. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
Parole officer (Scott) and parolee Diane (Greer) compete for the same man (O'Keefe), creating conflict on several levels. At it's best, the movie's about the difficulties of being on parole.
Oddball little programmer. Scott gets top billing, but as others point out, it's Greer who gets the screen time. And far from her usual slinky seductive role, she's not only de-glamorized, but also suitably dour-faced (just count her smiles; I stopped after one). All in all, it's a rather grim screenplay, drably photographed, and I can't believe the studio expected the final product to make money.
Despite the romantic triangle that strains believability, there are several striking scenes. Catch the iconic 40's diner where Diane gets her bottom-of-the-barrel meals. The sweat and steam just about drip off the wall. And that police line-up-- a graphic cross-section of the city's tough cookies, down-and-out'ers, and hopelessly pathetic (& one of the few barfing scenes from that era), all herded along by a bullying cop (Freed). It's one of the more unvarnished glimpses of urban flotsam and jetsam from the period. Then there's the crowded jail cell where the camera abandons Diane (& us) to a nightmare of entrapment. It's an unnerving moment, very well done.
I would've liked the movie better had they made the triangle more credible, plus Scott's sacrificial character seems too good to be true. I expect the latter was RKO's effort at compensating for the harshness of the parole system as portrayed. Likely too, prestige producer John Houseman had something to do with the social realism phase, including the poignant overcoat episode. Anyway, reviewer bmacy's remarks on the influence of the previous year's Caged (1950) are on target. And, had this film carried through more with its realistic dimension, it might not be as obscure as it is.
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