This movie might have single-handedly brought on woman's lib. When middle-aged San Francisco reporter Kathy Ferguson (Barbara Stanwyck) meets hunky middle-aged LA cop (Sterling Hayden), she chucks her career for love. This lands her in the San Fernando Valley in the dining room listening to the unbearably grating chatter of her husband's cop buddies wives. Naturally, this drives Kathy completely bonkers (If I heard the words "cream cheese and olive" one more time, I might have gone bonkers with her), and she becomes determined to get her husband to the top <cue ominous music> at any cost! Naturally, mayhem ensues.
This movie is only saved by the performance given by Barbara Stanwyck. She manages to make Kathy Ferguson a real person; she shows the real longing, desire (Barbara eyes Sterling Hayden like the prime slab 'o beef he is, and makes her intentions very clear), and smarts this woman has, and how frustration at being sidelined by society can bring out fierce competition in someone (today she'd be called manic-depressive). What's funniest about this movie is that it's so subversive. On the surface, we are supposed to be shocked, shocked I tell you, that Kathy does what she does in the name of her husband's career. On the other hand, life in the valley in the 50's is painted as so soul-destroyingly vapid, you wonder how she managed not to go on a killing spree. A really seldom seen gem that any fan of film noir should check out.