Barry Sulivan is a cynical gangster who controls the Neptune Beach waterfront. He runs a numbers racket with the local soda shop owner: the police are in his pocket and the local hoods are on his payroll.
Brandon and Jessie Bourne have a long, apparently happy marriage. Several years earlier Brandon had had an affair with a younger woman, Isabel Lorrison, who's now returned to New York intending to re-kindle the relationship. Meanwhile, Jessie is attracted to Mark Dwyer, a former policeman-turned-writer just arrived from a secret mission in Italy.Written by
Gale Sondergaard, who plays Barbara Stanwyck's mother in this film, was 50 years old when it was produced. Stanwyck was 42. See more »
When Isabel takes Brandon back to her apartment after unexpectedly popping into his office, one can hear her putting ice into glasses as she fixes drinks. But subsequently no ice is seen in either of their glasses. See more »
Yes, this is my town. It's not new to you. You're read books about it. You've seen it in movies. People are always talking about New York. It's the most exciting city in the world, they say. The most glamorous, the most frightening and, above all, the fastest. You hear a great deal about the tempo of this city, it's speed, it's pace, it's driving heartbeat. Perhaps, it's true - for visitors. But, I was born here. I live here. And the only pace I know is the pace of my own life. The...
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Stanwyck and Heflin have a palpable chemistry here, and Ava Gardner is a most alluring vixen. Cyd Charisse is a delectable ingenue (and a tall drink of water), while Gale Sondergaard is hilarious as a hard-bitten, hoydenish Amazon floozie. Stanwyck is playing about 10 years younger than her actual age (her film mother admits to being 55, when Stanwyck is in her early forties here, and while still handsome, she does look her age).
Mervyn Leroy did a nice job of combining the noir/woman's-picture genres, though its ennoblement of Stanwyck robs her of her strengths as a no-nonsense woman, good or bad. Her scene with Gardner is a standout -- both actresses are well matched; Gardner's feline beauty and laissez-faire romantic approach nicely complements Stanwyck's humane fatalism -- and Stanwyck and Van Heflin are an appealing couple. Mason is rather a chump, however -- he seems to be underplaying to the point of lethargy, though his handsome charm surfaces here and there; yet he and Stanwyck, though matched in terms of age (she was younger by a couple of years) are not the type for each other; he doesn't suit her, screen-wise. Heflin's naturalism -- a performance of great charm and likability -- is more suited to Stanwyck's style and one longs for them to get together. Great use of sets to evoke New York, teeming with nightlife, and Leroy always had a knack for directing extras so that the city scenes seem peopled with real lives rather than populated with stand-ins. Costumes, though late 1940s, seem a bit recherche, as if the designer hadn't left the 1930s, with the women's gowns too ornate for such a sophisticated post-war milieu.
Not a great picture by any means, but a highly enjoyable one; a viewer wishes the director and screenwriter -- the talented Isobel Lennart, who later wrote "Two for the Seesaw," among many others -- had trusted more in the chemistry between Heflin and Stanwyck, and discarded some of the Marcia Davenport source material, juicy as it must have been. This is from Stanwyck's late-1940s string of women's flicks, which did not play to her strengths. But middling Stanwyck is usually better than anyone else's best. And the underrated Van Heflin is worth rooting for, too.
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