'Golly, the misery that walks around in this pretty, quiet night!' murmurs Hayward's vibrant dance-hall dame, chasing round Manhattan trying to get her sailor pal off a murder rap. Golly, indeed, for the script by playwright Clifford Odets never lets up for a moment. Terse and flowery by turns, it elaborates the plot of Cornell Woolrich's novel almost to the point of incomprehension, yet movingly enhances the notion of New York as a fateful presence, teeming with the homeless and unhappy. Clurman, moonlighting in Hollywood after the collapse of his Group Theatre in New York, later dismissed it as just 'a run-of-the-mill RKO movie', but take no notice: it's made with cockeyed artistry from beginning to end, and shouldn't be missed.
Deadline at Dawn
Cast and crew