Delirious descent into the maelstrom of '40s film noir as a small town businessman trades dull days and a loyal lover for a fling in the jazz nights of San Francisco. How he becomes enmeshed in the crueller, deadlier corruption of LA, solving the case of his own murder, involves a succession of ingenious twists too good to give away. Maté shoots fast and always to the point as he drives his protagonist through endless doorways and rooms which are like trapdoors and boxes in an accelerating nightmare. Maté, whose credits as cameraman include Vampyr, Foreign Correspondent and Gilda, holds it all together with no trouble, and without the slightest appeal to art gives the images the intensity of a dying man's last story. Breathless, indeed.