In Los Angeles, salesman E.V. 'Marsh' Marshall works for wealthy real-estate developer Ralph Nevins. In his spare time he sleeps with his boss' wife, Pauline Nevins. She was saved from poverty by Ralph when they married but Ralph is much older than her and she hates him. Of course, she loves his money and that's why she doesn't leave him for the much younger office hunk Marsh. Despite the secret affair, Marsh respects his boss who gives him promotions and praises. Nevertheless, he would elope with his boss' wife but she wouldn't hear of it. Love is one thing but a return to a life without luxuries is another. At the office, Ralph Nevins' secretary, young Kathy Stevens, secretly loves office beau Marsh but she is too shy to reveal her feelings. She would later play a crucial role in a murder investigation involving the main characters. During one of their secret interludes under the moon, Marsh and Pauline Nevins witness a discussion between three shady men who are planning to steal ...Written by
Carol Ohmart is married to James Gregory. That, certainly doesn't bode well. She's also carrying on a passionate affair with Tom Tryon. THey decide to steal a wealthy woman's jewelry and run away. When Gregory is killed, everything starts to unravel.
Michael Curtiz' movie looks like what might have happened had Douglas Sirk tried to make a film noir.It's set in the wealthier, newer parts of Los Angeles, where the sod hasn't been [;anted around the Danish Modern houses, I was surprised at how standard and derivative it was, with scenes that suggested Double Indemnity. Perhaps that's a matter of familiarity with Curtiz' post-Hungarian career; in his memoirs, Harry Carey Jr. writes of going to see John Ford movies with his father, who complains endlessly of shots and sequences reused from movies in the 1910s. Those movies are gone,unlike Curtiz' sources for this movie, so Ford's possible copying from his earlier work (which would make him an auteur) are not apparent to us.
What's most interesting to me,however, is the cast, including newcomers Tryon, Miss Ohmart, Nat King Cole singing one song, and Elaine Stritch, also in her first movie, playing Miss Ohmart's older-but-wiser friend. Also E.G. Marshall and Edward Binns as the cops on the case. It's all mechanically handled as the story of lust, betrayal and thievery comes apart efficiently. I don't think Curtiz could make a poor movie.
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