When Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews) arrives in a small town after getting kicked off the bus (not enough money), he heads for the local diner, "Pop's Eats". Course, it ain't the food that draws customers to this joint. It's Stella (Linda Darnell), one of the most beautiful women you've ever laid your eyes on. She hates working there and longs for an escape, but it takes money. "Pop" (Percy Kilbride, yes "Pa Kettle" was in a film noir!) obviously can't supply her with the kind of dough she's after, so she cruelly strings along three "suckers," Eric (Dana Andrews), Dave Atkins (Bruce Cabot), and Mark Judd (Charles Bickford). She easily seduces each one, but waits to see which one can provide her with the most money.
Eric is wild about her, so much that he marries June Mills (Alice Faye) a wealthy woman, just so he can get the money Stella craves. But when he tells Stella about the marriage, she angrilly refuses to see him again, not wanting to "get involved with a married man". What, all of a sudden this tramp has morals?!? Anyway, later that night she's murdered, and of course Eric is the prime suspect of the police. Unfortunately, the chief police investigator of the case is Mark Judd (Charles Bickford), who also loved Stella and who is now determined to catch her killer. During the investigation, June finds out the truth about why Eric married her, but she still loves him deeply and continues to defend him.
Knowing that he doesn't stand a chance with the police, Eric flees the town with June and tries to figure out what to do. June tries again and again to convince Eric to talk to the police, because after all why should an innocent man be worried about talking to the police. When the cops spot June they pick her up for questioning. Finally, Eric figures out who the real killer is and promptly tells the police everything he knows, thus clearing himself and perhaps redeeming himself for his past crimes. Will June be able to forgive Eric and stay with him, and will Eric stop being a low-down, dirty cad and learn to love good-hearted June? Watch and find out!
At last, Otto Preminger's film noir classic from 1945 is officially available in the United States! Although released just one year after Preminger's classic "Laura," this classic isn't nearly as well-known as it deserves to be. Dana Andrews plays a selfish cad to perfection, while Linda Darnell commands atention with her stunning beauty and seductive looks. Of course, Alice Faye ends up looking better than Linda because Alice plays a girl with a heart of gold. And then there's the outstanding supporting cast: Charles Bickford, Anne Revere, Bruce Cabot, John Carradine, and Percy Kilbride. Sharp dialogue, wonderful cinematography, great acting, and clever plot twists make this a definite must for any film noir fanatic's collection!