Looking back to the boldly-stated fatalism of his German films, and - in the on-the-run figures of Sidney and Fonda - forward to the likes of Bonnie and Clyde and Pierrot le Fou, Lang's superb film noir constantly breaks the boundaries of the 'social consciousness' movie category within which it was originally pigeonholed. Determinism is here at the crux of a social, psychological, and generic network, as three-time-loser Fonda finds his guilt or innocence merely the stuff of ready-set alternative newspaper headlines; and Lang constantly queries the narrative thrust with visuals that pose their own ambiguous riddles. Even the title is challenged by the movie's final shot: less a sentimental cop-out than the rigorous working through of a schema that incorporates three essential levels of perception: Fonda's own, society's, and the audience's.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Gene Towne, Graham Baker|