2 March 2016 | XhcnoirX
Ambition rears its noir head
Howard Duff is an ambitious photographer looking for a job at a newspaper. Once he does, his ambitions start to skyrocket. His brash attitude gets him a snapshot of mobster Brian Donlevy, who takes a shine to him. Donlevy informs him of a robbery his competitor Lawrence Tierney is about to do, and Duff soon has himself another sensational photograph. After he photographs Tierney planting a bomb in Donlevy's car, he tries to blackmail Tierney while also hitting on Donlevy's widow Anne Vernon. Duff thinks he's in control but he's already in way over his head.
Ouch, the print I saw was in bad, bad shape, it seems like a 4th generation VHS recording, washed out with a slightly warped image. But don't let this stop you, this is a really good noir! It is always nice to see a noir where the 'protagonist' is a bigger bastard than the mobsters, including Lawrence Tierney!
Duff does a good job of portraying a man who seems like he's just anxious to find a job but who you soon realize is selfish, ruthless and only out for himself. He even tries to play 2 women at the same time, a mobster's widow and an editor at the newspaper, Peggy Dow (who already has a fiancée!). Donlevy and Tierney do what they excel at, playing rough, no-nonsense men. The rest of the supporting cast, which also includes Bruce Bennett as the chief editor, are equally solid. The cast has a ton of noir credentials between them, including 'The Naked City', 'The Glass Key', 'Born To Kill', 'Mildred Pierce' and many more... For French actress Vernon this was her only Hollywood movie however, but she's great here, bringing a lot of charm to her role.
This was director Joseph Pevney's first movie ('Female On The Beach', 'The Midnight Story'), but he does really well here. DoP Irving Glassberg ('Outside The Wall', 'The Web') also does good work here, making good use of real locations like a parking garage.
Don't let the bad picture quality deter you, this is the real deal, complete with a noir ending. Good stuff! Recommended! 8/10