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Danny Haley's bookie operation is shut down, so he and his pals need money; when Danny meets Arthur Winant, a sucker from out of town, he decoys him into a series of poker games where eventually Winant loses $5000 that isn't his...then hangs himself. But it seems Winant had a shadowy, protective elder brother who believes in personal revenge. And each of the card players in turn feels a faceless doom inexorably closing in. Dark streets and sexy torch-singer Fran lend ambience. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
In the first poker scene, the very first card dealt by 'Danny Haley' lands on a short stack of chips. An instant later, after the cut to the wider overhead shot, the card is no longer on the stack of chips. (And the chip stack sizes and positions have changed). See more »
Heston does a marvelous job is in his first star turn. Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, and Ed Begley lend impeccable supporting work. Don De Fore is re-teamed with Lizabeth Scott for the first time since You Came Along. Scott (Dead Reckoning, Strange Love of Martha Ivers, I Walk Alone, Stolen Face) is one of my all-time favorite femme fatales. Dieterle's direction is fast-paced and interesting throughout. Unfortunately, the whole turns out to be less than the sum of its parts.
The problem is in the inconsistent and unimaginative script. It's really a pedestrian tale of revenge with a miscast Mike Mazurki -- not a true film noir as it is normally billed. The parade of musical interludes is annoying. The chemistry between Scott and Heston doesn't work. And, the ending is a real letdown.
Chalk this one up as a well-acted and well-directed misfire.
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