A young writer goes to Monte Carlo to write about gambling and gamblers, only to ultimately become a compulsive gambler himself. Losing all his wealth, as well as his moral fibre, he commits the ultimate degradation of robbing a church poor box in order to feed his compulsion.
A dark melodrama that's overlong, talky, and very preachy. But with a surprisingly literate screenplay by Isherwood, it offers some fascinating character complexity that's much more than you'd expect from an old-fashioned Hollywood costume drama, helped along by Sidomak's taut direction and excellent black and white cinematography. Too uneven to really be a classic, but very interesting despite its flaws.
Apparently when Hollywood studio execs think "Dostoevsky" they think "Gregory Peck." Hence: THE GREAT SINNER. A few years later they'd think "Hemingway" and think "Gregory Peck": THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO. Both films are based on thinly disguised fictional portraits of their artists at low ebb. When I think Dostoevsky I don't think Gregory Peck. Siodmak's direction's competent, which is about all I ever expect of him.