Rip Murdock and Johnny Darke are en route to Washington when Johnny disappears and then turns up dead. Rip learns that Johnny had been accused of murder and sets out to find out what he can. He falls in love with Coral whose husband Johnny is supposed to have killed.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Lizabeth Scott drives a 1940 Lincoln Continental, but in a later scene, in the dark, they use a 1941 model, which has different lights. See more »
Captain Warren 'Rip' Murdock:
Johnny, why don't you get rid of the grief you got for that blonde, whoever she is? Every mile we go, you sweat worse with the same pain. Didn't I tell you all females are the same with their faces washed?
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This movie, while certainly not the best film noir, certainly would be an ideal introduction to the genre, in large part because of its blatant banality. It does not even attempt to elaborate or subvert any of the genre's themes, so in that sense is ideal for someone wanting to get a feel of a film noir. All of the noir ingredients are there: man returning from war, femme fatale, flashback narrative, gambling, seedy clubs, suspicion, paranoia, etc. I've never seen Lizabeth Scott in anything else so can't really comment on her, but my goodness she seems to be trying to do her best Lauren Bacall impression. Certainly she's no Bacall, Lake, Gardner or even Turner, but is passable in her performance as the femme fatale. The plot is more complicated than someone used to contemporary movies may expect, and one certainly needs to pay a lot of attention to it. That being said, it can work in the same way as 'The Big Sleep' (a much superior film) if one disregards the plot and just soaks in the atmosphere. The city at night shots at the movie's beginning are incredible, probably the photographic highlight of the entire movie. I've read criticism about the direction and lighting in the sense that it switches between light and dark. I think that it is supposed to work in the same way that a movie such as 'Mildred Pierce' works in the sense that the juxtaposition between light and dark represents the character's state of mind. So in a scene where Bogie is content with Scott, the colors are extremely light, representing his state of mind. More suspicious scenes are thereby darker. I don't know, just a theory, and even if this was the director's intention its debatable as to whether its effectively achieved.
All in all, an enjoyable noir, certainly recommended for fans of the genre, just don't expect any originality.
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