“This 1944 film noir, directed by Robert Siodmak, is one of the darkest and grimmest of them all. It’s the story of a lonely engineer (Alan Curtis) who takes a stranger (Fay Helm) to a tawdry Broadway stage show and returns home to find his estranged wife murdered, himself accused, and his alibi, the woman, untraceable. Siodmak captures a raw, cold, indifferent Manhattan burdened by the grind of survival—cynical, uninspired, and desperately lonely. The grifters and nighthawks who give it tang, such as a randy jazz drummer (Elisha Cook, Jr.) and a gimcrack detective (Regis Toomey), are as caring and reliable as hyenas. The criminal-justice system comes off as a money jungle, the streets are bleary with the haze of alcohol, and the only gleam of hope comes from the sleek young secretary (Ella Raines) who, in the grip of a frustrated crush, takes charge of the investigation. Whatever happy twist the plot may hold in reserve, the pawings and gropings that she endures and the casual mayhem that she witnesses run through to the end, unchecked and unredeemed.” (The New Yorker)
1944 Robert Siodmak 1.33:1 B&W DCP 87 min.
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