A classic noir that I just don't get. The story seemed kind of cheesy and forced to me here - it wasn't as dark and brooding as I feel a noir should be. It was dark, but it didn't quite the same viciousness and I could never really get behind Glenn Ford's character. I do think it features some great performances from the bad guys, but I was expecting so much more from this film.
A much more subtle film than it initially appears. At first it seems a standard noir which sets up a Manichean contrast between Bannion's domestic bliss and moral heroism versus the depravity and evil of the mob. As it progresses however, those lines become increasingly blurred and the film develops into a darker exploration of the individual's and society's capacity for evil, both active and complicit.
Sometimes the script tries so hard to be a wise guy it's hilarious, but thats part of the enjoyment, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid etc. Lee Marvin is such a good baddie. It struck me that these must have been very cheap to make, the sets are very undemanding. Beautifully lit. Glenn Ford' sense of justice and purpose just doesn't waver, he just ploughs right through everyone until they just end up following him.
I am beginning to think that all noirs are the same: some murder mystery, some plot twists, a beautiful woman in trouble, a narrow story line with no grander meaning, and generally horrible music. It really doesn't matter who the director is: you can't make a good movie out of a boring premise.
A good old fashioned example of American Noir. All the classic genre tropes are on show; a maverick detective, a fem fatale, institutional corruption and lots of shadowy encounters. It's not as memorable or as enthralling as some of its genre contemporaries, but it's a tight production that briskly unravels with punch, vigor and quick wit.
Made in 1953 and it hasn't aged. The theatrical, blood-less deaths are rarely shown, yet remain shudder-inducing a couple of times, without titillation. The female characters play as much of a role as the male ones, and Debbie is probably one of my favourite femmes fatales who should never have been underestimated. The soft-focus close-ups are a thing to behold, but it's Fritz Lang so it's pretty much a given.