A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
Jim McLeod is a hard-nosed and cynical detective. He believes in a strict interpretation of the law and doesn't believe in turning the other cheek. The current object of his zealousness is Karl Schneider, an abortionist responsible for the death of several young women. Schneider's lawyer tells the precinct lieutenant that McLeod has his own personal reasons for going after his client. It turns out that his wife was a patient before they met, although Jim knew nothing of it. His world suddenly turned upside down, McLeod is too late in re-evaluating his priorities. Written by
In some of the close-up shots of McLeod and Schneider in the back of the paddy wagon, McLeod's shadow can be faintly seen on the rear-projection screen showing the street behind them. (Other shadows can also be seen.) See more »
Detective James McLeod:
I ought to fall on you like the sword of God.
That sword has two edges. You could cut your own throat.
Detective James McLeod:
I'm going to give you a piece of advice, Karl. When they let you free again, get out of New York. You butcher one more patient and law or no law, I'll find you. I'll put a bullet in the back of your head, and I'll drop your body in the East River. And I'll go home and I'll sleep sweetly.
You don't frighten me. Now I'll give you some advice. I have plenty on you, too. I know why you're so ...
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Some films are so full of life they have to be seen again and again. I first saw this one in my early teens and loved it, despite difficulty in understanding it. Decades later I still love it, and always will. It has its flaws: everybody overacts (beautifully), as if on stage. The writing is a bit too well-structured, almost like clockwork, the characters are a bit too symbolic and easy to categorise. The comic relief kicks in just on schedule. The psychological diagnosis is too precise. And yet, this is one of the greatest films ever made. It has a sense of respect for the totality of life, and makes tragedy almost poetic. Fascinating though the plot may be, the essence of this film goes beyond plot. It's a symphony of cacophony. The playwright would have made a fine composer.
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