Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1946. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Raymond Chandler. Cinematography by Lionel Lindon. Produced by John Houseman. Music by Victor Young. Production Design by Hans Dreier, Walter H. Tyler. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Arthur P. Schmidt. Academy Awards 1946.
The definitive film noir for fans of the genre, and in particular the most famous pairing of Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd. Ladd plays a returned veteran whose fight with his unfaithful wife makes him the prime suspect in her murder when he later finds her dead in their apartment. Running from the scene of the crime, he meets up with a dubious blonde (Lake, whose character would become an iconographic genre standard) whom he hopes can help him clear his name. Despite a clever script by Raymond Chandler, the direction isn’t stellar enough for this story; one wonders what wonderful stuff Hitchcock or Michael Curtiz would have made of it. Still, the actors are pretty, and the trip through the murky atmosphere is fun.