The omens were good. Howard Hughes had produced the silent version of The Racket that sparked Hollywood's gangster cycle. John Cromwell had won his first movie chance with his performance in a Broadway revival of the original play. Mitchum plus Ryan looked a fail-safe powerhouse confrontation. But...Hughes' RKO was slowly running down; Cromwell was under greylist pressure from HUAC; and Mitchum got himself cast as a cop - representing goddam Society, no less! Softer than it should have been, then, but still dark enough to lose yourself in.