Fritz Lang’s last American movie is an edgy study in moral ambiguity.
A writer (Dana Andrews) joins his prospective father-in-law, a crusading press baron, in a plot to discredit capital punishment: they’ll concoct circumstantial evidence to implicate Andrews in a murder, get him convicted, then reveal the scheme at the last moment. But fate takes a hand, and the trap snaps implacably shut.
As the plot unwinds towards a pitiless final twist, no one comes out of it well. We’re left with a chilly urban thriller depicting a corrupt world, bleak and comfortless.
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