Usually shrugged aside as a negligible Chandler adaptation, but Brahm has other fish to fry. The tone is set by the opening shot of an old dark house as Philip Marlowe's offscreen voice complains about the wind blowing eternally off the Mojave. That wind continues throughout, stirring the mood of malaise as swaying branches set shadows flickering in dim-lit rooms where the heroine is being slowly driven mad. The opening interview, with the marvellously malevolent Florence Bates easily outgunning General Sternwood in flesh-crawling unease, challenges The Big Sleep on its own ground. The middle stretches, with Kortner outstanding in the Lorre role, produce as vivid a set of grotesques as The Maltese Falcon. But what keeps the last third afloat owes less to Chandler or Hammett than to the sense of brooding Gothic melodrama in which Brahm specialised. Forget Philip Marlowe, enjoy a fine companion piece to The Lodger, Guest in the House, Hanover Square and The Locket.