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
This Fritz Lang film has been largely ignored though in it's way it is as psychologically astute as many of his better known works such as "Scarlett Street". In transposing a Clifford Odets play from New York to a Californian fishing community some of the more florid dialogue seems unnaturally heightened but the performances of the three principals (Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan and particularly Paul Douglas) are stunning and the emotional core of the film is so strong that an audience can feel bruised by what's on screen. The blue collar milieu is perfectly evoked, the black-and-white cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca is first-rate and even the score seems understated, adding to, rather than detracting from the dramatic effect. Essential viewing.
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