In 1928, young heiress Martha Ivers (Barbara Stanwyck) fails to run off with friend Sam Masterson (Van Heflin), and is involved in fatal events. Years later, Sam returns to find Martha the power behind Iverstown and married to "good boy" Walter O'Neil (Kirk Douglas), now a District Attorney. At first, Sam is more interested in displaced blonde Toni Marachek (Lizabeth Scott) than in his boyhood friends, but they draw him into a convoluted web of plotting and cross-purposes.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
During the scene when Martha and Sam are standing by the campfire, the amount of smoke varies drastically from angle to angle. See more »
There's half as many baths as there is rooms. Half the rooms has baths and half hasn't; that's one way of looking at it. Another is, for each two rooms, one has a bath in the middle and the other hasn't. Or, you might say, there's a half a bath to each of two rooms.
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Opening credits prologue: IVERSTOWN 1928. See more »
This is a well-written, well-acted, thoroughly absorbing film noir. The always-great Barbara Stanwyck is at her sultriest as Martha, and Van Heflin is incredibly sexy and masculine as Sam. Watching this movie, you wouldn't think Kirk Douglas, who plays the weak-willed, alcoholic Walter, would soon become a bigger star than Heflin and play the tough, romantic hero parts like Sam Masterson. Douglas excelled at those parts, as he did with a very different type of part in this movie, but I can't help thinking that if Heflin had gotten more of those roles, he would have been just as big a star. Husky-voiced Lizabeth Scott rounds out the star foursome nicely as Toni, a wrong-side-of-the-tracks girl who's been burned by trusting the wrong men. This movie, more than most of its era, trades in shades of gray; the "bad" characters, Martha and Walter, have reasons for the evil they do, while the "good" characters, Sam and Toni, are no angels--he's a decorated war hero, but he makes his living by gambling and once killed a man in self-defense, while she just got out of jail. This complexity adds to the film's interest. The film also provides a believable depiction of small-town life; it's realistic, no Bedford Falls. The flashback portraying several of the characters as teenagers has the spark of reality as well. Highly recommended.
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