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Allied Artists' plot twisty low-budget noir opens with shapely con-artist Anne Baxter emerging from the Pacific to come on to restless fisherman Sterling Hayden who immediately falls hook, line, and sinker. Before you know it, she's begging him to kill her brutal partner-in-crime but Anne isn't wrapped too tight and their plans soon spiral out of control...
In 50s B movies where the budget is spent on the salaries of stars on the cusp of "past their prime", it's their chemistry that counts and although there's none here, it's not for lack of trying on the leading lady's part. Anne Baxter certainly doesn't hold anything back in what amounts to a dry run for her scheming Nefritiri in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and it's kind of campy seeing her vamp it up in broad strokes, especially since she's no spring chicken. Sterling Hayden always seems the same for some reason and was no different than he was in CRIME OF PASSION (1957) when he steeled himself to make love to a mature Barbara Stanwyck -but at least here he does it in swim trunks, albeit briefly. Quirky character actor John Hoyt smoothly plays Anne's control freak "husband" as a civilized sadist while a rumpled Jesse White (TV's Maytag repairman) provides the sleaze as the two-bit private dick Hoyt hires to watch his wayward woman. The twists and turns the story takes keep the pulpy pot boiling until the star-crossed lovers come full circle in the surf and although Baxter & Hayden are no threat to Romeo & Juliet, the body count is satisfying at least. The director (not that it matters) was publicist Russell Birdwell who coined the tagline "How would you like to tussle with Russell?" for THE OUTLAW and would go on to make the preposterous THE GIRL IN THE KREMLIN with two -make that three- glam-mannequins: the life-like lunk Lex Barker and chattering magyar Zsa Zsa Gabor in a dual role.
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