Despite good performances and fine camerawork from Burnett Guffey, Rossen's first film as director is a disappointingly flat thriller. His script weaves a nicely complex web around Powell's Johnny O'Clock, co-owner of a gambling club who, interested only in money and women and turning a blind eye to the dubious activities of his partner (Gomez), ends up wanted for two murders and up to his ears in treachery. The trouble lies in the pacing: as director, Rossen seems so uncertain of himself that he often fails to give his actors sufficient time or space to imprint their presence on screen (true throughout, but in particular of the two murder victims: Bannon as the corrupt cop who tries to muscle in on the partnership, and Foch as the girlfriend he cruelly discards). Since they remain totally unmemorable (through no fault of the actors concerned), the subsequent action tends to become little more than a sequence of events mechanically strung together.
Cast and crew
Lee J Cobb