A young mentally-ill killer, Gunther Wyckoff, escapes from a mental institution, murder a bus driver and, then, takes six hostages in a bar. The gun in Wyckoff's hand kills without emotion or pity wielded by a man bare of emotion. Begins as a moral question whether an insane killer should or should not be sent to the electric, but goes elsewhere before it ends. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
MGM was known for "More stars than there are in Heaven." And therefore few people think of it in terms of film noir.
But some of the very best noir came out of that studio in the 1940s and 1950s -- this being one of the bleakest and grittiest.
It's kind of a "Grand Hotel" in a sleazy bar. We have lots of types, but, with the exception of one dear thing on her way to the road to Hell with an older man, they're extremely convincing low lifes.
We have a real prostie here, a tough bartender, a couple of guys on the make.
The escaped killer is portrayed very brutally, with understanding but no phony-baloney tears.
The cast could scarcely be better. Marshall Thompson, previously a romantic juvenile, is fine as the blank-faced killed. Andrea King is always a treat, though I wish she weren't obscured by the beret she wears here. Still, the scenes between her and the fast-talking middle-aged Romeo who has her in the bar are superb.
This is one of the best in the genre.
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