Olivia Harwood, missionary's widow, meets charming Mark Bellis, artist and rogue, on the ship taking them both back to 1890s London. When Olivia opens a lodging house Mark becomes her ... See full summary »
Righteous district attorney Joseph Foster's main goal in life is to rid his city of the gangsters infesting it. In order to be even more efficient in his war against crime he plans to run for governor. One day he meets a strange, shadowy man, Nick Beal, who offers to help him to achieve his end. Beal convinces hesitating Foster by dint of easy money, easy sex with an alluring young woman and the promise of easy success. Joseph Foster soon becomes an influential politician but a corrupt one. A minister of God manages to show him that he has been the plaything of the so-called Nick Beal, who might be "Old Nick" , that is to say Satan himself. Foster then decides to resign and to become an honest man again.Written by
Otherworldly fantasy meets film noir with Satan as a racketeer
A rare film-strange considering its many virtues.Ray Milland is perfect as cool diabolical devil in disguise Nick Beal.Thomas Mitchell is a modern Faust who accepts evil methods as a means of becoming Governor (ironically to do good deeds when in office!)Audrey Totter plays an archetypal 40's "dame" splendidly-tough,sexy with pretty elastic principles,but with a conscience under the varnish.This movie is full of great scenes -director John Farrow always gets it just right-I don't think he ever reached these heights again-watch the moment in the apartment where Donna realizes with horror that both she and Foster are saying exactly the words Beal said they would,and the scene where Beal surprises Donna at the station by sliding the cigarette case down the bar.The only real minus for some audiences today is the "studiobound" production,though for me this enhances the claustrophobic "noir" atmosphere of the film.The splendid Franz Waxman score nicely complements the action.
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