Available on DVD !
To buy, click on link(s) below and help keep this site afloat
Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
Bar pianist Al Roberts (Tom Neal), a nice cleancut all-American boy is
in love with singer Sue (Claudia Drake), & she with him ... so far so
good. But then she wants to move from New York to LA to try her luck in
hollywood, whichleaves him, staying behind heartbroken ... until after a
few weeks, he decides to go to La too, just to be with her. But as his
money is hardly enough for the food he needs on the journey, he has to
hitchhike his way across the continent .. & at first doesn't run nito
too much good luck.
Then Al runs into Haskell (Edmund MacDonald), who goes all the way
through to LA & seems a nice enough fellow, even inviting Al to a few
meals, his only condition that Al drives for part of the way ...
Then, by a freak accident, Al makes Haskell bump his head and die. It
was an accident, nothing more, but for everyone else it must look like
murder, & Al can't prove himself innocent. So he decides to assume
Haskell's identity, steal his money & car & drive to LA where it
is easy to lose the car.
At first, al is of course totally worked up by what had happened, until
he goes through Haskell's things & learns he was a con-man who was
planning to even cheat his own father out of some cash. That calms Al down
a bit, in fact so much so that he decides to take a hitchhiker, Vera (Ann
Savage), with him ... only what he doesn't know is that Vera had
know Haskell & pretty much guesses that he has robbed Haskell &
murdered him (& of course she doesn't believe him that it wasn't
murder). So she figures she got him in her hands & can make quite a
bit of money off him, always threatening to betray him to the cops ...
She forces him to give him all the money Haskell had, to rent an
appartment with her as Mr & Mrs Haskell, and to the next day sell the
car (which she claims to be inerest, because if the cops find a lost
car, they are bound to make inquiries). & even though he is now in
Hollywood, Al feels further away from Sue than ever ...
But it's all over once the car is sold, Vera tells him ... only to when
the deal's almost done, back out of it - because she has learned Haskell's
dad is terminally ill, & with Al posing as Haskell alittle longer,
they could get the old man's considerable inheritance ...
Al refuses outright, Vera again threatens to cal the cops, &
somehow (another accident) her head gets caught in the telephone cable
when he starts to pull, pull real hard ... & again just by a freak
accident he has killed a person, again he didn't want to, but again nobody
will believe him.
He can't go to New York, he can't stay in LA, so he hits the road again
as a wornout hitchhiker, always knowing that one day a car he hasn't
hitched will stop - the police delivering him straight to death row.
Many films of the B-production house PRC had a production line
look to it (that could in cases still be quite charming), mainly because
they were produced a dime a dozen, but not this one. A six-day shooting
schedule & a tiny budget did not keep director extraordinaire Edgar
G.Ulmer from turning out one of the most effective film noir crime dramas
of its time that gets by without any form of big spectacle (no chases, no
action, no nothing), instead relies on an excellent story & a
direction that uses its limited budget to the best of effects.