James Curtayne has retired from law but he returns to defend John O'Hara on a murder charge. Curtayne's drinking and rustiness result in O'Hara's being found guilty, but Curtayne makes further efforts to prove him innocent. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
According to John Sturges's inputs for the book of Emmanuel Laborie "Sturges: a filmmaker's story", John Sturges said he was frightened directing Spencer Tracy who was a living legend. At the beginning, he was just stuck on the story-board and choosing good camera angles and did not dare to interfere in Tracy's way of acting. Until the day, Tracy rehearsed a scene, while Sturges was looking at it through the eye-piece of the camera, suddenly took off his jacket and hung it on the camera lens blocking up the director's view. Then Tracy took Sturges aside and told "John, can you stop only worrying about your camera and take care about the actors because the camera is only a hungry machine and it will not be satisfied if you feed it with junk food". See more »
Worth seeing for star Tracy, director of photography Alton
It's a shame this movie never lives up to the dark promise of its opening images: Night in a run-down quarter of the city; an all-night coffee shop, like Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks"; an old Swedish salt stumbling around. In deep background, a door opens, flooding a stairway with light. Then, shots ring out. What it's all about is a young man framed for a murder, whose impoverished parents coax "retired" defense attorney Spencer Tracy to exonerate him; Tracy plays half Clarence Darrow and half gumshoe. Despite the obligatory falling-off-the-wagon scene (where he succumbs to ethical temptation) it's a solid job. The noir influence goes beyond the camerawork; the ending is darker than you might be led to expect.
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