Although the emphasis here is on emotions rather than mayhem, fans of "Film Noir" will chew on Fritz Lang's "Clash By Night" with relish. What saves this film from becoming another weepy 50's melodrama are the cynical, tough-as-nails characters played by Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Ryan. They are the illicit lovers cuckolding hubby Paul Douglas' naive, easygoing Monterey Bay fisherman. Ryan brings a sweat-streaked, smouldering, "Streetcar Named Desire" intensity to all of his scenes with Stanwyck, who holds her own as a restless, world-weary housewife with a "been there done that" past. Stanwyck and Ryan play out thier furtive romantic scenes like rutting animals (this is pretty hot stuff by early 50's standards). Paul Douglas gives his career-best performance, particularly when he registers heartbreak, betrayal, and internal struggle between gentle demeanor and homicidal rage all in one pivotal scene ("ANIMALS! That's what you are...ANIMALS...!") Marilyn Monroe is excellent in a small but memorable role as Stanwyck's tomboyish sister-in-law. What makes this film unique in the Noir canon is that while there is a fair amount of violence, none of it is fatal in the literal sense. The only fatalities here are the characters' hopes, dreams and faith in humanity-now THAT's what I call Noir!