A lovely, mean little noir melodrama that turns (suddenly, one might say) into a murder plot. Like a lot of films from its genre and era, it feels held back from going "all the way" by the conventions of the day. That having been said, it still crackles as a find for noir buffs, with a feint here and there and an expert final suspense setpiece. Bonus noir points for including Gloria Grahame being Gloria Grahame.
I think it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who said that Crawford's face couldn't change expression without going through contortions. The director had to cut away and back between mood shifts. This makes her ideal for Noir with the heightened emotions and deep shadows that are part of the genre, her limitations are used rather than concealed. She enters the atmosphere of the film and instantly fits into the expressionism.
Can't believe I've never seen this beauty! Absolutely Brilliant! Not really Noir, more Melodrama of the highest order. Crawford's facial expressions are to die for. As for Jack Palance, my memories of him are of a not so good looking middle aged guy that my mother adored; but here he exudes a gorgeous suave villainy. I've seen Gloria Grahame do better but she fits the bill nicely here as the other woman.