It's like The Truth (Clouzot) and a little bit like Once Upon a Time in America (Leone). I think it may have been extremely influential, regardless of all the OTT moments (a fight near the beginning springs to mind). But it's the power of the cinematography; the pan up from the judges podium, or the symbolism between Nick combing his hair at the end, and the fire between Emma at the restaurant. Powerful stuff.
Another gem I didn't know. A strong cast, especially Bogart, whose last monologue in court shows what a wonderful actor he was. A moral tale for 1949, alas same stuff can still be preached today, we havn't moved on much. Great direction as always from Mr Ray. And side note to any Stranger Things fans. Allene Roberts, playing Emma. Double of a certain 11.
The movie founders with didactic courtroom speeches, but it still ain't half bad. And it spread the memorable line from the novel; "Live fast, die young, and have a good looking corpse." The Willard Motley novel the movie is based on sounds fascinating, though (http://amzn.to/1ExNuNs). As is the life of Motley himself (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willard_Motley).
A by-numbers social conscience film in many ways, but bristling with Ray's sympathetic approach to the frustrations of young people (before they were given the handy socio-economic tag "teenager"). Nick Romano is very much a precursor to Dean's more middle-class character in "Rebel Without A Cause"