I Netflixed this one because I wanted to work some more Robert Mitchum into Noir Month. And I should have one more with him to watch after this.
Notable Talent: Well, Mitchum was the main draw here, but I also got this one because of director Otto Preminger, who did two movies I've watched for my K2K.
Detective Story: There's maybe a bit of a mystery going on here, at least for a little while. Mitchum begins working for a rich family and tensions seem to be building under the surface. Is the daughter trying to knock off the mother? But the movie keeps changing style and direction as it goes along. It's a mystery, then a melodrama, then a crime movie, then a courtroom drama, then more melodrama.
Twisty, Turny Plot: Like I said, it keeps changing around on you, hard to tell where it's going. Throws a curveball or two at you, and then has an ending that I would venture to guess was pretty shocking to audiences in the 1950's.
Moral Ambiguity: To the degree that there's no clear good guy in this story. Mitchum is the protagonist, but he's kind of an asshole and makes some iffy choices. The rich family is pretty fucked up, and later in the movie a manipulative lawyer features prominently in the story.
Sweet-ass Shadowy Black and White Cinematography: Preminger certainly knows how to shoot a movie, in what I believe is considered the deep focus style. Not reallly set in urban environments, in fact most of it is at a mansion, and they don't reallly go overboard on the shadows and all that. But it still looks pretty good.
Overall Quality: Slow going at first and a little too talky, but it gets increasingly entertaining as it goes along, with a particularly memorable ending. Mitchum is great as always, and ultimately I would say this is a good one but nothing special.
1) The Set Up
2) Act of Violence
3) Crime Wave
4) Night and the City
5) The Big Steal
7) Angel Face
8) Shoot the Piano Player
9) Gun Crazy
10) Mystery Street
12) They Live By Night