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.
British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.
Jeff Warren, a Korean War vet just returning to his railroad engineer's job, boards at the home of co-worker Alec Simmons and is charmed by Alec's beautiful daughter. He becomes attracted immediately to Vicki Buckley, the sultry wife of brutish railroad supervisor Carl Buckley, an alcoholic wife beater with a hair trigger temper and penchant for explosive violence. Jeff becomes reluctantly drawn into a sordid affair by the compulsively seductive Vicki. After Buckley is fired for insubordination, he begs her to intercede on his behalf with John Owens, a rich and powerful businessman whose influence can get him reinstated. When Buckley suspects she has used sexual favors to persuade Owens, he stabs him to death in a jealous rage in a railroad compartment. Jeff, a potential witness to the homicide, becomes an accessory after the fact. Written by
Fritz Lang did not like the title and thought it redundant. "What other kind of desire is there?" is his reported comment. See more »
The closing sequence shows the famous "Trenton Makes, The World Takes" bridge over the Delaware River and the NJ State Capitol out the side window of the locomotive over Jeff Warren's shoulder, meaning the train is headed south on the four-track Pennsylvania Railroad Northeast Corridor. The scene cuts to the front window and the train is on a single-line track in farmland passing a track gang. After Glen waves to the workers, the scene cuts back to a forward view of a three-track railroad passing an opposing steam train that was not visible in the previous shot. See more »
Broderick Crawford and Gloria Grahme make an interesting couple as the two of them unravel in yet another boozy black and white (but mostly drab grey) plot of murder, betrayal, and blackmail, this time on a train as well as in a railroad yard, with Glenn Ford in the middle, coming back to his job as an engineer after fighting in the Korean War. It makes for a cozy and claustrophobic setting. While the lines that they say seem a bit unconvincing, their situations and personalities are what make this a memorable film. Crawford is especially impressive as a hulking railroad office employee with a vicious temper and jealousy for his younger wife. The plot has some inescapable holes in it, but the drama and tension build fairly well, first because of his tortuous marriage with Grahme which seems to go with the film's title, as the marriage is a sham that represents another unattainable desire for him. He carries the part off all the way to end.
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