This is a mainstream movie. Yes, there was a time when Hollywood producers had a little consideration for the audience or rather when Hollywood producers were educated. Dana Andrews, Joan Crawford and Henry Fonda form here three of the most complex characters brought to screen by American cinema of that period. Not a single gun is involved. Masterpiece.
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.
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.
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.