All but unknown Nicholas Ray pic (you’ll see why) is a bitchy affair for Joan Fontaine, a bit long in the tooth as a New Girl in Town, hustling between San Fran’s artsy ‘smart set’ and old-wealth ‘social set’ to get ahead. And if that means dumping macho literary light Robert Ryan for her roommate’s monied fiancé (Joan Leslie; Zachary Scott), so be it. Fontaine positively purrs her way thru the role and the film has its moments in the first half, but too many plot complications & see-thru lies stop it cold before too long. Ultimately, Ray has neither the style nor much zest for this sort of trash. At least Mel Ferrer gooses things up in an early credit as an amusingly mediocre society painter, a wolf behind gay trimmings. And Robert Ryan gets a shot at something outside his usual brutes & borderline psychos, playing a suave, but rough-hewed writing talent (think James Jones/Irwin Shaw). He’s terrifically appealing, his enjoyment in the role infectious.
DOUBLE-BILL: Fontaine’s a regular Eve Harrington here (of ALL ABOUT EVE fame), filming right across town from this R.K.O. production over @ 20th/Fox.
ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: Don’t skip the Alternate Ending on the disc with gives Joan a couple of extra turns of the screw . . . so to speak.