Between preparing for Christmas and paying the bills, blackmail is just another chore. Lucy is a prisoner in a hotel lobby, the post office, a pawn shop, and at home with images of bars and railings forever enclosing her. In trying to help her daughter she only deepens her own troubles. Taken pity on by an outsider who would profit from her misfortune his sacrifice only condemns her for good.
Establishment of a style language, not exactly from a director/author, but of the studios and the industrial production of a certain narrative scheme, the North-American classicism of the 40s. In this "all-powerful" language is constantly lost the idiosyncrasies of more particular authors, like Ophuls, that fulfill with supreme elegance an indistinct exercise of suspense.
A smart and well-crafted suspense melodrama from director Max Ophuls. Boasting strong performances from Joan Bennett and James Mason in a most unusual kind of quasi-romance, it may only be a minor classic, but solid entertainment for fans of classic thrillers.
5.5/10. Impressed with Joan Bennett and her valorous, elegant character. But people like James Mason's character do not exist. With its middle-class family backdrop, this movie is an interesting—and, for all I know: quite original—variation on film noir themes. It could be more engaging, however, and it's generally not strong on plausibility.
Not sure why this has gotten such "classic must-see" treatment. Sure, the noir elements are there and the darkness of the film stands out; James Mason's performance is well done, and the cinematography is noteworthy, but other than that this film is pretty dull and melodramatic. I usually like the German-emigre directors like Fritz Lang and such, but this one is hardly Ophüls' best.
Interrupted viewing. It's a damn stylish film though, merging European cinema sensibilities with the USA. Effectively, it's a family comedy - with a murder in the background. While performances are great, I was surprised by the fact that there was a love twist, and feel that it was irrelevant. Watch for the family drama - NOT the leading couple. Could this be the most annoying child actor of all time?
A thrilling and offbeat noir with some memorable scenes and standout performances. The threat of a mother's daughter being exposed and implicated in a murder, drives her to desperate measures and growing paranoia at the hands of one man, who is really controlled by another. Blackmail is a dirty game, but in the end it's love that wins out in this wonderful thriller that has a very strong and climactic ending.