21 November 2007 | MartinHafer
A bit predictable and certainly rather low-budget, but it still manages to be very entertaining and worth seeing
Early in his career, Erich Von Stroheim was well known for his temperament and excesses--so much so that his once celebrated career was practically in ruins by the 1940s. Because his star power had faded so, he was forced to act in a few relatively low budget films that were surprisingly good--much better than you'd expect. Part of this was due to Von Stroheim's acting, but it also was fortunate that he was paired with a young but very talented director (Anthony Mann). Because of his success with films like THE GREAT FLAMARION, Mann went on to direct many wonderful films and Von Stroheim had a mild resurgence in his prospects.
The film begins with a murder at a theater in Mexico. A short time later, a badly wounded Von Stroheim is discovered by the lone person still in the theater and Von Stroheim tells his story about why he committed the murder. Since you know that the murder occurred, there isn't a lot of suspense about the whole thing, but the film did a wonderful job of making the viewer actually care about him and understand why he felt compelled to kill this particular woman. The sweet and lovely Connie, you learn, is one horrible lady and her character is exceptionally interesting and gritty--sort of like an evil Noir femme fatale. She is so compelling to watch that this helps to elevate the film well above the ordinary.
Overall, a very entertaining film that nearly earns an 8. Fascinating character studies and a great script help make this one a keeper.