Dana Andrews was never an actor who radiated warmth, and here he is perfectly cast as a hardboiled con artist on the lookout for number one. He arrives in a small town and falls hard for sultry waitress Linda Darnell. She is holding out for marriage, but marriage with financial stability, which Andrew can’t offer. So he sets about seducing Alice Faye with the idea of fleecing her of her fortune.
Director Otto Preminger’s follow-up to Laura had Andrews doing fine work again, …nd the plot features a few solid surprises, if not quite the sledgehammer blows of the previous film. An arc of redemption is a bit hard to swallow, and yet, once down, it warms the body pleasantly, so I won’t complain. Look for a fun turn by John Carradine as a performing psychic, not to mention Charles Bickford’s role as a rather brutal cop.
Once more, both original mono and 2.0 stereo are on offer here. The remix has the usual benefits and drawbacks, the latter featuring surround sound dialogue (though it isn’t too intrusive). The music is definitely showing its age, and yet the stereo mix does give it a nice sense of breadth. The most notable flaw is attendant on the print: the hiss and static are quite noticeable.
The blacks are very good here, and the image is sharp. There is some grain, but it isn’t abad, and there is no real damage to speak of (i.e. no speckling or scratches). The contrasts, however, are extremely harsh, and there is sometimes a strong bleaching effect that eliminates some details – I’m not convinced that the high contrast lighting was meant to be quite THIS high.
Noir historian Eddie Muller is joined by Susan Andrews (daughter of Dana Andrews) on the commentary track, which is, as ever in this series, very strong. The theatrical trailer and ads for other Noir releases are joined by a publicity gallery, production stills, and a unit photography gallery. The menu’s main screen is scored.
Plenty of hardboiled dialogue here, and great atmosphere. A top-notch thriller.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Still Galleries
- Theatrical Trailer