Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
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An altruistic department-store owner hires ex-convicts in order to give them a second chance at life. Unfortunately, one of the convicts he hires recruits two of his fellow ex-convicts in a plan to rob the store.
The bitter and cynical Mae Doyle returns to the fishing village where she was raised after deceptive loves and life in New York. She meets her brother, the fisherman Joe Doyle, and he lodges her in his home. Mae is courted by Jerry D'Amato, a good and naive man that owns the boat where Joe works, and he introduces his brutal friend Earl Pfeiffer, who works as theater's projectionist and is cheated by his wife. She does not like Earl and his jokes, but Jerry considers him his friend and they frequently see each other. Mae decides to accept the proposal of Jerry and they get married and one year later they have a baby girl. When the wife of Earl leaves him, he becomes depressed and Mae, who is bored with her loveless marriage, has an affair with him. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Interesting characters and setting...Stanwyck, Douglas and Ryan are terrific...
CLASH BY NIGHT is a melodrama that betrays its stageplay origins with some artful but sometimes arty dialogue that attempts to get us beneath the skin of its three main characters--and occasionally does. But it's a tribute to the acting skill of Stanwyck, Paul Douglas and Robert Ryan that their characters come alive with all their flaws and longings exposed.
Barbara is excellent as a woman who returns to a fishing village after a long time away, a bitter, defeated woman still trying to find a niche for herself. Paul Douglas does a remarkably fine job as a good-hearted man, simplistic in nature, who latches onto her only to have her betray him with the lusty Robert Ryan. Lookers on include two very interesting performers--Keith Andes and Marilyn Monroe (on her way up). Andes breathes life into the role of Barbara's disgruntled brother and should have been groomed for stardom--he had the looks and appeal of a major star.
A somewhat downbeat ending resolves the conflict--but along the way there are some very high-strung moments from Stanwyck that she plays to perfection. Marilyn Monroe demonstrates talent in a minor role.
A bit talky and stagebound in some scenes--but an interesting melodrama thanks mainly to the gripping performances of Stanwyck, Douglas and Ryan. Ryan would have made a great Stanley Kowalski in 'Streetcar' based on his drunk scene in this one. He can play a brute about as well as anyone and here he's quite an actor, matching Stanwyck's intense performance with a sturdy one of his own.
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