2.5 stars. This is one strange film. Jack Webb liked numbness in his actors, reflecting his personal style. I guess he would say they were pared down to their essence. This is not the same as Bresson who exposed souls quietly and meticulously. Still, any film with Ella Fitzgerald, who acquits herself very respectably, and Peggy Lee in supporting roles is worth checking out.
Noirish crime drama about a bugel player who gets entangled with the local new mafia boss and tries to keeps his integrity. Peggy Lee sensitively portrays an alcoholic singer, O'Brien does his usual gangster trick and Janet Leigh is purely decorative. Add Lee Marvin, Ella Fitzgerald and Jayne Mansfield in supporting roles and you have a great ensemble cast.