Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry’s friend Earl.
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Dynamite picture that features equally strong performances from its 3 leads: Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas, and Robert Ryan. Lang's direction takes a standard love triangle picture and gives it a degree of heightened sexuality, danger and perversity. '....Home is where you come when you run out of places...'
Classified as a noir, it is really more straight drama, although Nicholas Musaraca's photography certainly adds to its noir credentials. There are some outstanding performances here where actors play horrible characters. Even Marilyn Monroe shines in her minor role.
This psychodrama among fishermen is a disappointment for the hardcore Fritz Lang fan. But be reassured, CLASH BY NIGHT is nevertheless way better than HUMAN DESIRE shot two years later by the German master. The theatrical origin of the screenplay left important traces such as long existential dialogues that don't have aged very well. A DVD zone completists only.