Handily one of the greatest studio films of the lustrous (if resoundingly bleak) 1940s. Preminger was a forward-looking master of adult realism. His characters brazenly behave like complicated mature human beings. Actors are encouraged to underplay, and are utilized brilliantly as primary agents through whom the stories are told. This one has the benefit of being buttressed by an absolutely phenomenal screenplay.
I watched this film without preconceptions. It absorbed me instantly. I am NOT a fan of Joan Crawford but I thought she served the concept. It is a very sophisticated movie that reflects Preminger's worldliness. The acting matters in the way it matters in ""L'avventura." It becomes part of the whole.
"I've been walking around all afternoon, three blocks north, three blocks south, south by north - I can't wander all my life. I've got to be going somewhere. Can you understand that? Even if it's to the movies!"
Preminger at times strikes me as a bit clinical. Initially we view Peter as a bit of an oddball. Eventually we see that perception of Peter's being calculating, occasionally bordering cold, are a vessel for his love. Ultimately, being ensnared in love is less attractive that existing freely to love as one pleases.