A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
In flashback, New York nightclub pianist Al Roberts hitchhikes to Hollywood to join his girl Sue. On a rainy night, the sleazy gambler he's riding with mysteriously dies; afraid of the police, Roberts takes the man's identity. But thanks to a blackmailing dame, Roberts' every move plunges him deeper into trouble...Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
In this film Tom Neal plays a young man who accidentally kills two people. Eerily fiction later turned into reality when Tom Neal himself was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for accidentally shooting and killing his wife, Gale Bennett, and served six years in prison. See more »
When Al is playing the piano he is not pressing any of the keys, just moving his fingers across the tops of them. See more »
[as narrator after thumbing a ride]
I guess at least an hour passed before I noticed those deep scratches on his right hand. They were wicked, three puffy red lines about a quarter inch apart. He must have seen me looking at them because he said...
Charles Haskell Jr.:
Beauties, arent they? They're gonna be scars someday. What an animal!
Whatever it was, it must have been pretty big and vicious to have done that!
Charles Haskell Jr.:
Right on both counts, New York! I was tussling with the most dangerous animal in the world - a woman!
[...] See more »
Al Roberts (Tom Neal) is a depressed NYC piano player whose girlfriend leaves him to try her luck in CA. He follows her by hitchhiking his way. He's picked up by a man who (inexplicably) dies while Al is driving. Naturally Al does everything wrong...like dumping the body and then picking up Vera (Ann Savage) a totally amoral woman. Then things barrel horribly out of control.
You can quibble about plot points (a certain death is highly implausible) but this IS a masterpiece of the genre. It's one of the grimmest film noirs of its time. It was made by a poverty row studio (PRC) on no budget. Actually the lack of budget helps the story--everything appears dark and grim fitting the tone of the story. Also they had an excellent director (Edgar G. Ulmer) and a great script by Martin Goldsmith. Also Neal was very good as Roberts and Savage is exceptional as Vera (there's a scene where she explodes at Roberts in a car which is truly scary). It's also all wrapped up in a tight economical 69 minutes. This has deservedly been a cult movie for many years.
Good luck finding a clear print with good sound.
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