Preston Foster is a bitter ex-cop who masterminds a gigantic robbery. Hiding behind a mask, he forces three cons to work with him, and makes sure they too wear masks, so only he knows everyoneâ€™s identity. The heist also involves framing an innocent flower delivery-man (Joe Rolfe), who unfortunately has done his own stint in jail, and so is put through the brutal wringer by the police. Freed but understandably ticked off, Payne sets off on the trail of the men who framed him. Tracking one to Tijuana, Payne adopts his identity and arrives at the resort where Foster and others have gathered. Fosterâ€™s master plan is complicated by the arrival of his daughter, who develops an interest in Payne.My summary likely makes the film sound hellishly convoluted. Though it does indeed have a plethora of twists and turns, the storytelling remains crystal-clear throughout, and it is astonishing how many issues and incidents it packs into 99 minutes. The near torture that Payne suffers at the hands of the police is wince-inducing, and Neville Brand and a young Lee Van Cleef are memorably sleazy cons. Marvellous fun.
As with the other noirs in this series, mono is the only option here, and it is more than adequate to the task at hand. The background static is held to an absolute minimum, and there is no distortion at all happening with the dialogue. There are no gurgles on the score, and the sound is warm.
This is a very sweaty film, and the image is sharp enough to capture each oily droplet on the playersâ€™ faces. The grain is extremely minor, becoming a bit more apparent only in a couple of brief exterior shots. The black-and-white tones are terrific, as are the blacks. Edge enhancement is not a problem. Another excellent transfer in this line.
Bone-crunching brutality and memorably icky bad guys. Life is good.