A lawyer who is planning to run for District Attorney accidentally kills a gangster who owns the nightclub where the attorney's girlfriend is a singer. Although he manages to cover up his ... See full summary »
Enviromentalist Anne Richards goes to Washington D. C. to fight for getting legislation passed to save the last remaining sanctuary of the almost-extinct California Condor. She enlists the ... See full summary »
Jean Simmons (a school teacher) takes a secretarial job in a nightclub. The two club owners quibble about a lot, including her. Unfortunately, she develops an interest for the partner who disapproves of her employment at the club.
Insurance detective Steve Hastings is sent by his company to investigate the disappearance of a fellow agent. His first lead is the agent's fetching sister, Victoria, whom he trails to ... See full summary »
According to director Robert Wise, the movie was shot entirely in Reno, NV in 22-23 days. They used the newspaper office there, the City Hall, the street. Not one shot was filmed in the studio. See more »
It's strange how this Wise movie influenced "Invasion of the body snatchers".The construction is exactly the same:a car belting with a couple inside:close shots on their faces,full of fear.They take refuge in a police station,and the man begins his story which he records on a tape.Like in "body snatchers",there's a description of Kennington,a peaceful town,but little by little,the witness,a journalist, reveals us what lies beneath.And by the way,in 1945,Wise made a movie called "the body snatcher"!
The town seems to be under Sirak's thumb,a local tycoon who has a hand in shady and illegal business.The police is totally corrupted,and ,it's the last analogy with "Body snatchers" ,ordinary people seem contaminated too (the car salesman),or about to be(the journalist's partner).
A private eye tried to spill the beans,but he was murdered soon after having asked for the journalist's help.The murder scene is masterfully directed by Wise whose editing science is astounding:the private,driven back against a dead end street,in a symphony of black and white,by a mysterious car which will come back as an ominous messenger of death,then,abruptly,a trumpet bellowing out in a nightclub.Violence always takes place in the night,in Wise 's world (remember the end of "odds against tomorrow",or even the rumble in "west side story").
The characters are realistic to a fault.No stereotype,no real baddie (except for the gangsters whom we hardly see;their presence can be felt everywhere though,that is to say how great Wise is!)It seems that Sirak is actually overtaken by events.Characters of secondary importance are wonderfully depicted:Sirak's wife,whom we see only twice in the movie appears at first as an indifferent woman,then ,a fearful,pitiful one,an alcoholic at that.
The main message of the movie is that we are not helpless,as the private detective's wife told the journalist soon after her husband 's death.If the gangsters took over the town ,it's because of people (ordinary people) who are too afraid of getting mixed up in a fight against the strong and the mighty,or worse,because bribes make ends meet.
In 1952,with no star,a low budget,and a great modesty,Wise showed the way to modern film noir.
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