What a perfect film for insomniacs. This is wonderful to watch with the lights out. With that said, let's look at this underrated work by director Anthony Mann. First the obvious...John Alton is a genius. The lighting, or lack thereof, is visually striking. What this man could do with a $10 budget was simply amazing. Secondly, let's note the unusual commentary/narration by Academy Award winner(she won the award that same year for her role in "Key Largo"), Claire Trevor. I can count only a couple of film noir in which the voice-over is done by a doomed (in love)woman. Her sense of entrapment perfectly encapsulate's the mood of this film. Now, let's also note the odd use of a theremin for the bulk of the music used in this film. Check it out...very creepy. But one of the most overlooked components in this film has to be the hulking visage of Raymond Burr. This guy had to be in just about every film made between 1944 and 1960. In this particular film he is a sado-masochistic pyromaniac. In just about every scene he is torching somebody, whether it be by using his lighter, or throwing a flaming flambeaus at some poor unsuspecting party-going girl or by just burning down his own apartment. He's a nutcase...but a joy to watch on the screen.
Okay, so the story itself isn't the most original. But with everything else this film has going for it, I HIGHLY recommend anyone even slightly interested, to go buy it NOW! It's one of my absolute favorite film noir's. Oh...I almost forgot. Check out Marsha Hunt in this film. She's stunning.