3 December 2005 | sol1218
Just walk slow and stick with the crowd
(There are Spoilers) Petty L.A hold-up man Rick Robey, John Garfield, just knew that this wasn't going to be his day. Waking up at his mother's apartment in a cold sweat Rick had a dream, or premonition, of things to come and it wasn't good. Nervously meeting his friend and fellow hood out on the street Al Nolin, Norman Llyod, Rick want's to call off the planned hold-up of the Union Pacific payroll but Al insists that this is the one job that they'll finally hit the jackpot and retire from their life of crime. Rick, a bit hesitatingly, goes alone with Al's plan; Nick should have followed his first instincts and stayed home.
By the time the day was over Nick was on the run, like in his dream, for his life from the police wanted for a payroll robbery that resulted in the payroll courier, A. Cameron Grant, being in the hospital with a cracked skull. Nick's friend and fellow robber Al Nolin ends up clinging on to life on a thread with a bullet in his stomach and the police officer whom he shot Newcomb, Dale Van Sickel, in the morgue with a bullet in his chest from Rick's gun.
Hiding out at a local L.A public swimming pool Rick with the $10,000.00 in payroll money strikes up a conversation with Peg Dobbs, Shelly Winters, whom he teaches how to swim. Nick later uses his new found girlfriend and her family's apartment to stay undercover and on the lamb from the police dragnet out to find and possibly shoot and kill the fugitive cop-killer.
In his last movie John Garfield gives one of his most riveting and at the same time sensitive performances as the anti-hero Nick Robey. It was after Garfield made "He Ran All the Way" his career came to a screeching halt due to the pressure put on him by the HUAC to name names,of fellow friends and members,which he refused. Even though he openly admitted that he was a member of a number of Communist front organizations. Garfield's troubles with the HUAC cause the stress that lead to his death on May 21, 1952 at the age of 39.
Back to the movie Nick seemed to know instinctively that he was doomed, like his dream revealed to him, even though he tried to make his escape with the help of a reluctant but love sick Peg Dobbs. Who went against both her fathers and mothers, Wallace Ford & Selena Royle, wishes who wanted no part of him. There was an eerie sense of fatality in Nick's face that showed throughout the entire film. Just look at at the scene where Peg is having a talk with her father about not going off with Nick and he's some ten feet away with his head right between the two. The look on Nick's face tells you that he knows that Mr. Dobbs is right; He's a born loser in life and a dead one at that.
Powerful ending sequence as Nick feeling left alone and abandoned by Peg, due to his death wish-like paranoia, staggers and finally falls dead on the rain soaked street from a bullet from Mr. Dobbs' gun. Right in front of a tearful Peg and the car that she got for him to make his getaway.