*** out of 5
"Tell me, what happens to a guy's heart when he becomes a cop?"
This is poverty row noir at is best. Despite its limited budget and set-bound story, the scenario is classic noir, and the dialogue is full of searing repartee and grim banter. Despite pretty basic camera work, the story is engaging enough that I had to check the writer's pedigree. Steve Fisher, who gets credit for the screenplay, has his name attributed to a number of much more highly recognizable noir titles, including Lady in the Lake, I Wake Up Screaming, Dead Reckoning, Tokyo Joe, and lesser know ones like Destination Tokyo, Johnny Angel, Hell's Half Acre, Terror Street, a late Frank Borzage film, and one of the Thin Man stories.
Preston Foster is the hard-boiled cop, bitter because he felt betrayed by the girl he had to arrest for theft. Ice queen of noir, Belita is the girl in question, equally embittered for having been wrongly locked up. Naturally, things get pretty dark before light finally shines on the lovers frustrated by fate. Charles McGraw shows up late in the film as a policeman giving the real criminal the third degree, in a minor role that nevertheless showcases the kind of charismatic performances that made him s reliable lead man in so many classic noirs.