Phillip Raven (Alan Ladd) is a hit-man hired by Willard Gates (Laird Cregar) to execute the blackmailer Albert Baker (Frank Ferguson) and retrieve a letter and some documents for his unknown boss. When the work is done, Raven is double-crossed by Gates, receiving marked ten dollar bills. Gates delivers the list with the serial number of the bills to the police, expecting they find and kill Raven. Meanwhile, the performer Ellen Graham (Veronika Lake), who is the fiancée of the L.A Detective Lieutenant Michael Crane (Robert Preston), is contacted by Senator Burnett (Roger Imhof) and asked to help investigating Gates. She accepts the invitation, and is hired by Gates to work in his private club in Los Angeles. The police force, leaded by Det. Crane, chases Raven for the death of Baker; Raven chases Gates and his unknown boss, expecting to kill them for their betrayal; Ellen secretly chases Gates for the government. This is the beginning of a great classic. Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake have fantastic performances in this movie. Alan Ladd is magnificent in the role of a cold blood killer, needy of a friend, that loves cats. In order to show the personality of his character, there is a scene in the beginning of the story, where he almost shoots a crippled girl to eliminate any possible witness of his murder. Veronika Lake is wonderful and very gorgeous, inclusive singing two songs. I disagree with the reference of film-noir for "This Gun For Hire", since there is no "femme-fatale", no dirty cop, no weak man (other than Gates) or sordid motivation. Indeed it is a police story, showing a cold-blood hit-man without compassion, capable of killing without showing any emotion, hunting "worse guys" looking for his personal vengeance. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Alma Torturada" ("Tortured Soul")