(Review originally written at 1 May 2007)

This was a great little surprise. Most film-noir's from the '40's are always a good watch and this movie is also certainly among the better one's of its period. A real surprise, considering that this movie is a fairly unknown one and is directed by Michael Curtiz, who had his most success- and is best known for directing entertaining, adventurous movies.

To be honest, the movie really doesn't begin well. At first it seems like the movie is a typical mystery/thriller in which a woman cannot remember a man, who claims to be her husband. The movie looks like a mostly talking-flick with standard characters and a good story that however lacks in serious tension and just isn't interesting enough. However soon the movie starts to take a positive turn, when it slowly abandons this plot line and turns into a murder-mystery. The movie becomes tense, atmospheric and completely captivating. The movie really gets better by the minute, as it heads toward the ending and it begins to develop better layered- and more developed story lines.

Too bad that still the fine second halve can't fully compensate for the more weaker first halve of the movie.

The movie is skillfully put together by cast and crew. The movie has a great visual look and I especially love the use of shadows in this movie. It makes some of the sequences really look marvelous, while they serve a purpose as well. They also help to make the movie as a whole a very atmospheric piece of work, that has a perfect required tense, dangerous and mysterious feeling all over it. It shows that Michael Curtiz could handle the genre really well as a director.

Claude Rains really plays a great role in this movie. Joan Caulfield also showed that she was beautiful as well as talented. Too bad that Ted North for most part ruins the first halve of the movie with his stiff and weak acting. Apparently he agreed with me, since this movie was his last movie role (or did he die shortly after this movie?). The movie further more features some great cast supporting actors, such as Jack Lambert and Harry Lewis.

A great little unknown genre movie from Michael Curtiz, that film-noir lovers will surely be able to appreciate, despite its weaker, less interesting, first 40 minutes, or so.


About Frank Veenstra

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