Kleptomaniac Dorothy Lyons is paroled from prison in custody of her sister June, secretary to "reform" political candidate Frank Jansen. Ben Grace, associate of crime boss Sol Caspar, sees this as a way to smear Jansen's campaign. But after falling out with Caspar, Ben tries to help June, who he begins to fall for. Sexy Dorothy also has a yen for Ben. June is reluctantly forced to go along with Ben's schemes, but there may be more to these than meets the eye...Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
A man in a bar says that, when the new mayor is elected, "this town will be so quiet you can eat your dinner off the sidewalk." Obviously, he should have said that the town would be clean, not quiet. See more »
Let's see if we can beat him down.
[after throwing a body out of an upper story wondow]
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James M. Cain's first Hollywood fusillade went off in the mid-1940s, with Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce and The Postman Always Rings Twice, all adapted from his books, helping to set the tone and the parameters for the noir cycle just getting up steam. In the mid-50s, he had a second wind, with Serenade and, from Love's Lovely Counterfeit, Allen Dwan's Slightly Scarlet. While not one of Cain's better works or one of the better movies made from them, it has its ample fascinations. Legendary noir director of photography John Alton works in color here, and startlingly enlivens his customary dark trapezoids with bursts of lime green, flame orange and orchid. (The rare films noirs done in color seem even more decadent: see Leave Her to Heaven and Desert Fury). John Payne reprises his solid, sullen self as a fence-straddling minor mobster who sees his chance to take control of the machine in a mid-sized midwestern city. His twin carrot-topped temptations are sisters Rhonda Fleming, as the mayor's gal Friday, and Arlene Dahl, who has just been released from prison -- she's a loony, man-devouring klepto (and Dahl does her proud. There's even a scene when Fleming finds the message "Goodbye Sister" scrawled in lipstick on her bedroom mirror). Too bad there was a lot of (unnecessary) rewriting of Cain's story; the ending is sourly ambiguous. But this is late noir in garish overdrive, and movies aren't much more fun than that.
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