Director Robert Siodmak doesn’t miss a film noir trick in this pitch-perfect example of the form. A wounded Richard Conte, nabbed for shooting a cop, slips out of his hospital bed and right into a cache of stolen jewels. He’s hoping to raise a fresh bankroll and skip out of the country with his girl. Standing in his way is . . . well, just about everything. There’s indomitable detective Victor Mature & partner Fred Clark; his own disapproving father; a crooked lawyer secretly holding the jewels; and Hope Emerson, in a great supporting turn as a threateningly large masseuse/partner in crime. Conte’s mom & kid brother are in his corner, along with Shelley Winters’ sympathetic taxi driver, but you just know fate’s gonna keep knocking on the door. Siodmak works those slick streets and claustrophobic interiors like nobody’s business (shooting real NYC locations as if he were on the Fox backlot) and composer Alfred Newman replays his classic ‘Street Scene’ music cue to set the mood. Look for the official DVD release from FOX and refrain from narrative nitpicking.
DOUBLE-BILL: A follow-up, not a sequel, to KISS OF DEATH/’47. With a slimmed down budget that, if anything, helps.