Synopsis: Young heiress Martha Ivers is in love with friend Sam Masterson. Her aunt is murdered and she breaks things off with Sam. Years later, Sam returns to town and finds Martha married to the alcoholic D.A. Walter O’Neil. Sam is soon draw him into a convoluted web of plotting and cross-purposes as he tries to uncover the secrets keeping Martha and Walter together.
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas, Judith Anderson, Roman Bohnen, Darryl Hickman, Janis Wilson, Ann Doran, Frank Orth, James Flavin, Mickey Kuhn, Charles D. Brown
Directed by: Lewis Milestone
Produced by: Hal B. Wallis
Written by: Robert Rossen, John Patrick, Robert Riskin
Serious Jest: (Worth Watching) This is a very borderline positive recommendation, but if you’re really bored, this is a solid black-and-white noir film that will hold your attention. Depending on your mood, this might even be a great film to get drunk to and laugh at with your friends. This was Douglas’s first film, and he nailed the role of a tortured and devoted man doing his best to overcome his personal demons. It’s a 1946 film, so obviously there are no impressive stunts or effects (with the exception of a car crashing into a pole; on the other hand, there is one scene in which someone is getting whacked with a cane, but it’s so fake I laughed out loud), but fortunately, the story does not rely on them, focusing instead on timeless issues of unrequited love, feeling trapped in a small town, and self-destruction.