- Original title
- Running time
- 67 min.
- United States
Edgar G. Ulmer
Martin Goldsmith (Novel: Martin Goldsmith)
Benjamin H. Kline (B&W)
Producers Releasing Corporation
Film noir. Thriller. Mystery | B Movie. Cult Movie
- Synopsis / Plot
- Low budget director Edgar G. Ulmer cemented his reputation with this downbeat film noir masterpiece. It has since inspired countless filmmakers. The use of minimal sets and rear-screen projection gives a feeling of a claustrophobic nightmare as Al (Tom Neal) a down-and-out piano player, hitchhikes from New York to Los Angeles in order to be with his singer girlfriend (Claudia Drake). Fate has other plans for Al when he steps into the car of a character named Haskel (Edmund MacDonald), who promptly dies in his sleep one night while Al is driving. Afraid the cops will never believe the truth, Al takes Haskell's money, car, and identity, and tries to make it to Los Angeles, only to have fate intervene again when he picks up a mean-spirited female hitchhiker (Ann Savage).
This film is short, cramped and breathtaking, with no pause in its relentless rhythm of despair. Tom Neal's performance as the man snared in a web of fate is raw and real. Ann Savage is fierce. Ulmer's direction is hallucinatory and amazing. From a script by mystery writer Martin Goldsmith, this film demands repeat viewing by any serious student of cinema, or lover of movies.
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