A woman secretly suffering from kleptomania is hypnotized in an effort to cure her condition. Soon afterwards, she is found at the scene of a murder with no memory of how she got there and seemingly no way to prove her innocence.
Det. Sgt. Mark Dixon always wanted to be something his old man wasn't: a guy on the right side of the law. But for a good guy, he's awfully vicious. After several complaints over his roughing people up, his boss, Insp. Nicholas Foley, demotes him. Foley tells him he's a good man, but needs to get his head on straight and be more like Det. Lt. Thomas, who has just gotten a promotion. Meanwhile, Tommy Scalise has an illegal dice game going and is looking to make a sucker out of the rich Ted Morrison, who was brought in by Ken Paine and his beautiful wife Morgan. She figures out too late her husband is using her as a decoy. Paine strikes her when she refuses to play along. The chivalrous Morrison intervenes but Paine knocks him out cold. That seems to be the worst of it, but later it turns out the guy is dead; and Paine looks guilty. Soon Dixon has fallen in love with Morgan - but not before losing his temper again and committing a terrible deed that he tries to cover up. Morgan's father...Written by
Ben Hecht adapted William L. Stuart's book about a troubled New York police detective--recently called on the carpet by his superior for roughing up too many suspects--interrogating a shady character in the man's apartment, getting into a physical altercation and accidentally killing him. In the lead, drip-dry Dana Andrews doesn't look like the hair-trigger-temper sort, but he acquits himself well with this fascinating role, determined to cover up his mistake though inadvertently leaving the door open for an innocent taxi driver to be accused of murder! Karl Malden is also extremely good as the new police lieutenant on the beat, and his rush to judgment against the working stiff is unsettling (it gives one the feeling that many cases are still 'solved' in this manner); Gene Tierney, Andrews' "Laura" co-star, is perfect as the daughter of the suspect--whom Andrews is quickly falling for--yet the finale is joyless and square. I guess the morals of the time dictated the picture HAD to end on this note, but seen today it plays like Hollywood preening. **1/2 from ****
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