Hard, withdrawn city cop Jim Wilson roughs up one too many suspects and is sent upstate to help investigate the murder of a young girl in the winter countryside. There he meets Mary Malden,... See full summary »
Det. Sgt. Mark Dixon always wanted to be something his old man wasn't: a guy on the right side of the law. But for a good guy, he's awfully vicious. After several complaints over his roughing people up, his boss, Insp. Nicholas Foley, demotes him. Foley tells him he's a good man, but needs to get his head on straight and be more like Det. Lt. Thomas, who has just gotten a promotion. Meanwhile, Tommy Scalise has an illegal dice game going and is looking to make a sucker out of the rich Ted Morrison, who was brought in by Ken Paine and his beautiful wife Morgan. She figures out too late her husband is using her as a decoy. Paine strikes her when she refuses to play along. The chivalrous Morrison intervenes but Paine knocks him out cold. That seems to be the worst of it, but later it turns out the guy is dead; and Paine looks guilty. Soon Dixon has fallen in love with Morgan - but not before losing his temper again and committing a terrible deed that he tries to cover up. Morgan's father... Written by
I'm a big fan of fan of film noir, and this film by Otto Preminger easily stands as one of the best that I've seen! Preminger has reunited two of his stars from the hit 'Laura' - Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews, for an entirely different sort of crime film. Laura was based around love, and this film is based around hate; as we watch police detective Mark Dixon, a copper already suffering scrutiny from his superiors for his heavy handed tactics, accidentally kill a suspect and try to pin the murder on a known criminal; a man by the name of Tommy Scalisi. The plot is brilliantly worked, and Preminger excellently balances several plot points; but it all comes back down to the main moral implication surrounding our main character. The fact that the film is set in the criminal underground means that the plot is given an excellent base to work from, and director Otto Preminger expertly captures the sleazier side of life by showing the main characters gambling, beating one another (and their women), shooting and more - and this also helps to offset the film from the earlier 'Laura', which was very much set in upper class society.
The role of Mark Dixon gives Dana Andrews one of the most interesting parts of his career. Here, we have a character that is difficult to like as he's so cold - but the fact that we can understand his motives ensures that he's easy to sympathise with, and that allows the audience the ability to plug into his plight. The character development is well timed, and as we've follows this character and his motivations throughout the film; everything makes sense by the end. His co-star is the beautiful Gene Tierney, who isn't given as much to do in this film as she was in Laura; a film that made Tierney its linchpin. She does well with what she's got, however, and the lead duo's chemistry is excellent and Tierney helps to complete every scene she's in. I can't say that this is a better film than the earlier Laura; that's a hard act to follow, but this film certainly fits into the film noir formula better than Preminger's earlier film. The film also makes a good comparison piece for Laura; as just about everything in this film is opposite to the 1944 movie, yet it's all strangely familiar. Highly recommended to all!
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