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 1928, young heiress Martha Ivers fails to run off with friend Sam Masterson, 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, now district attorney. At first, Sam is more interested in displaced blonde Toni Marachek than in his boyhood friends, but they draw him into a convoluted web of plotting and cross-purposes.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Lewis Milestone is quoted in an article in the Los Angeles Sun Mirror on December 8, 1946 as having said that he would never make another picture with producer Hal B. Wallis because Wallis wanted to re-shoot scenes in this film for more close-ups of Lizabeth Scott. Milestone reportedly told Wallis to shoot them himself, so he did. See more »
In the DA's office, as Toni is questioned by Walter, the boom's shadow is seen above. 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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