(Review originally written at 1 March 2007)

The movie is cursed with a horrible, B-movie sounding, title but other than that In film-noir style but also with lots of modern thriller style elements in it. It makes this one of the first full-blooded thriller movies, that set new standards and obviously also inspired many later genre movies.

The movie has an absolutely brilliant written and told story. The movie constantly features flashbacks, due which the plot becomes more and more clear, until the unavoidable and brilliant suspenseful climax. The main character of the movie is bound to a bed, due to 'illness'. It narrows down the environment, which allows the suspense to grow even bigger. She is restrained to only a small number of possibilities and objects, mostly her phone. She investigates 'the over-heard murder plan' and the disappearance of her husband from her bed. She digs in past with the people she calls (this is were the flashbacks come in) and slowly things start to make sense and become clear to her and us. It's such a great concept and approach, I'm probably making it sound weaker and more ridicules than it in fact is. It's a movie that works because of its writing, not necessarily because of its directing or acting.

The movie is so great with its thriller elements. It has many, really nail-biting moments, even though once you start thinking about it, not an awful lot is happening in the movie. Everything gets build up extremely well, with lots of implying things in it. The story allows you to make your own conclusions, only learning later that it was far from the truth. It are elements like this that make it obvious that this movie is based on a stage play by Lucille Fletcher, who also wrote the screenplay for this movie. It's not the only or earliest movie based on this stage-play but it's definitely the biggest and best.

The movie has a great cast with Barbara Stanwyck (Oscar nominated for this movie) in the main lead, who perhaps isn't always likable enough though. Burt Lancaster also stars, in one of his early movies roles. Also the other actors are well cast and do a more than great job. Of course they are also being helped by the great written story and its dialogs.

The movie also features some surprisingly brilliant and lively cinematography by Sol Polito, that definitely helps to build up the tension and to imply- or lay the emphasis on certain things and provide the movie with an uneasy atmosphere.

The movie its ending is really the icing on the cake. It's so incredibly suspenseful, climatic and just overall brilliant. Truly on of the best movie endings I've seen in a long time.

Definitely an underrated and often overlooked thriller-movie that deserves way more recognition.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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