A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
Since he was a child, Bart Tare has always loved guns. After leaving the army, his friends take him to a carnival, where he meets the perfect girl; Annie, a sharp-shooting sideshow performer who loves guns as much as he. The 2 run off and marry, but Annie isn't happy with their financial situation, so at her behest the couple begins a cross-country string of daring robberies. Never one to use guns for killing, Bart's dragged down into oblivion by the greedy and violent nature of the woman he loves.Written by
Martin Lewison <email@example.com>
In an interview with author Danny Peary (1981), director Joseph H. Lewis described how he instructed lead actors John Dall and Peggy Cummins: "I told John, 'Your cock's never been so hard,' and I told Peggy, 'You're a female dog in heat, and you want him. But don't let him have it in a hurry. Keep him waiting.' That's exactly how I talked to them and I turned them loose. I didn't have to give them more directions." See more »
Annie and Barton are running through the meat packing warehouse being chased by security, the hanging meat arrangement changes. See more »
What is the quintessence of a film-noir? A good answer is: an evil strong woman that manipulates a weak, although basically decent, man, involving him in a crazy love, doomed to a tragic ending. Then we can safely state that "Deadly is the Female" is a perfect instance of film-noir.
The movie has outstanding merits. The cinematography, and especially the camera-work are excellent, and comparable to the best achievements in the film-noir genre. Justly celebrated are the scenes filmed with the camera inside the car, like that of the bank shot in Hampton, a true cinematic gem. John Dall and Peggy Cummins, in the roles of the doomed lovers Bart and Annie Laurie, make a great job. The story starts slowly (a minor drawback), but as soon as the two lovers cross the border of legality, the movie acquires a quick, exciting and ruthless pace and presents a powerful finale.
The psychology of Bart and Annie Laurie is studied with care. Annie Laurie is a systematic liar. With Bart she always looks sweet, deeply in love, even subdued to her man. To justify her shootings and murders, she always whines with Bart that she had lost her nerves, that she was scared. But when Bart is not present, the viewer gets from her body language and the cruel expression of her eyes that she just loves to kill. Great job by Peggy Cummins.
So does Laurie just make use of Bart for her dirty purposes, to satisfy her own depravity? Not at all. Oddly enough, in another famous scene we see that Laurie really loves Bart with all her heart. Only, she is bad and cruel, that's her inner core. And is Bart so stupid and bewitched not to realize that Laurie is going to ruin him? No, he knows it, and he deeply suffers, but ultimately he doesn't care. Only Laurie counts. Desperately crazy love... how fascinating! (at least in a film-noir).
The script offers several memorable lines, and the many subtleties give realism to the story. For instance, Bart and Laurie are not professional criminals, and they show it when they carelessly spend "hot" money, which will cost them dearly.
"Deadly is the Female" is an excellent film, a relevant nugget in the film-noir gold mine. Highly recommended.
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