During the Rif War in Morocco, the French Foreign Legion's outpost of Tarfa is threatened by Khalif Hussein's tribes but Sergeant Mike Kincaid devises a plan of survival until the arrival of French reinforcements.
Bill Saunders, disturbed ex-soldier, kills a man in a postwar London pub brawl. Fleeing, he hides out in the apartment of lonely nurse Jane Wharton. Later, despite misgivings about his violent nature, Jane becomes involved with Bill, who resolves to reform. She gets him a job driving a medical supplies truck. But racketeer Harry Carter, who witnessed the killing, wants to use Bill's talents for crime.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Burt Lancaster's flogging ranks 43rd in the book, "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies." Curiously, while he's sentenced to receive 18 lashes, in the book on which this movie is based, his character is sentenced to receive only 10 lashes. See more »
The story takes place in England, where automobiles and trucks are right-hand drive; but the truck Bill drives is left-hand drive. See more »
[to Bill Saunders]
... furthermore, although these appear to be first offenses, in view of the brutal nature of the assault, I have no alternative but to direct that you receive eighteen lashes of the cat-o'-nine-tails.
See more »
Doesn't quite live up to its lurid title...good performance by Fontaine...
What should have been a much more effective film with an absorbing, sometimes gripping story, is somehow turned into a tepid melodrama interesting only for the performances of the principal players--Burt Lancaster, Joan Fontaine and Robert Newton.
Basically, the story has hot tempered Lancaster running from the law and seeking shelter in Fontaine's apartment. Against her better judgment, she becomes involved with him but can't protect him from a blackmailer (Robert Newton) who has witnessed Lancaster's crime. Joan Fontaine gives a surprisingly strong performance in a confrontation scene with Newton that is the most gripping moment of the film. To tell any more would be to give the rest of the plot away.
As intense as Lancaster is, it's not a very well written role--there is definitely something lacking in the screenplay. Nor is the chemistry between him and Fontaine very strong or believable. She gives one of her better performances as the woman who just happens to cross paths with a killer.
The low key lighting gives the film a grim, film noir look that is appropriate for this kind of story, as does Miklos Rozsa's score although it does not rank with some of his best work. At best, it's a routine melodrama that could have been so much more.
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