I always had the feeling that to make a good noir you need some good faces and you have a fantastic trio of faces here with Donlevy, Ladd and Lake. Don´t judge too quickly Heisler because the name is not familiar : he shows a nice talent for storytelling and solid grammar. Dashiel Hammett script gives it a special atmosphere, with dirty politics, femme fatale, and all the elements you need to get the right cocktail.
Directed by Stuart Heisler, this is an unspectacular film that eventually blossoms into a thing of subtle beauty. Early scenes make viewers prepare themselves for another standard crime flick, but as Ed (played by Alan Ladd) starts to use his intelligence while so many other people use fists and/or bullets it goes from strength to strength.
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!"