This was the notorious project with which eager beaver Howard Hughes did his bit for Uncle Sam during the witch hunt days, assigning it to a string of RKO directors (turn it down, and you labelled yourself pinko or worse). Day is the lady who marries Ryan after a whirlwind courtship, knowing only that he is a top executive with a San Francisco shipping company who used to be a stevedore. The Commies, though, know that he was briefly a Party member during the Depression, and begin blackmailing him (Carter just wanting revenge because he ditched her along with the Party, but Gomez intent on forcing him to help foment labour disputes at the shipyard). Ryan plays ball until the game gets rough and corpses start piling up, when he does the right thing (conveniently dying in the process, after explaining that he only joined because he was a disgruntled kid out of a job: 'I thought I'd quit, but you can't quit. They won't let you'). The sterling cast can make no headway against cartoon characters, a fatuous script that defies belief, and an enveloping sense of hysteria. Nick Musuraca's noir-ish camerawork, mercifully, is stunning.
Cast and crew
Charles Grayson, Robert Hardy Andrews
Laraine Day Robert Ryan John Agar Thomas Gomez Janis Carter Richard Rober William Talman Paul Guilfoyle