Decent noir. Lake is sexy enough but felt underused imo, so never really acheived true femme fatale status for me. Ladd has some good moments but I will always judge him by Shane and his performance here just doesnt quite cut it. Donlevy basically carries the film as the dirty politician. Worth a look, but probably wouldnt rewatch
Good but not great. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. Brian Donlevy was entertaining but there was something off about Ladd with his extended smiles and off-putting politeness. And for as much as I would've jumped at the chance to drink Veronica Lake's bathwater, her character was just a vacant placeholder here. The plot was more political corruption than film noir but an influential story nonetheless.
Despite its pedigree, a fairly standard film noir drama. Alan Ladd is strong in the lead and Veronica Lake is gorgeous as always, and it does have its moments. But the convoluted plot is just too talky to really generate the suspense and tension it needs to be a classic, though it is still worth a watch for noir fans. Clearly a major influence on the Coen Brothers' 'Miller's Crossing'.
Story by Dashiell Hammett, starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake (who's prettier?) and Brian Donlevy, but the real star in my book is William Bendix as the heaviest of heavies, a deranged luntic-thug who, while throttling his former gangster employer, quips: "I'm just a big good-natured slob!"