29 May 2014 | dougdoepke
A Quinn Showcase
The acting makes the movie, especially gang boss Regal (Quinn) and his naive sister Rosalie (Bancroft). Regal may be a ruthless racketeer outside his family, but inside, he's a protective pussycat. That is, until cheap Lothario Bradna (Granger) first knocks-up Rosalie and then philanders after Regal forces him to marry her. And that's after Regal gets him off a murder-one rap so the irresponsible kid can do the right thing. Now, feeling betrayed, Regal's really angry, so we know Bradna's in for even worse trouble.
The movie's got some twists and turns, not all being very plausible. But that's okay because Quinn delivers a scary and riveting performance. The actor's just back from Italy where he starred in the powerful classic La Strada (1954). So maybe he was trying to show Hollywood a thing or two since he delivers a lot more than the role requires. Then there's Bancroft, already a magnetic personality, and on her way to an Oscar-studded career. Looks to me like the producers spent their money on the cast and not on the visuals that are pretty bland and bare-bones. But then the supporting cast is full of familiar faces, especially up-and-comers like Van Cleef and Graves, along with great vets like Bissell and Flavin.
Five-years earlier and I expect the film would have been straight noir, without the moralizing voice-over. But this is the McCarthy Cold War period, so there can't be any lingering ambiguity. Still, it's a fairly gritty little film with a compelling central performance that deserves better than near- total Hollywood obscurity, despite the titillating title.