This film of Dashiell Hammett's tale of political corruption and murder is slightly better than the 1935 version, profiting from a bigger budget, stellar casting, and a zippier pace, thanks to Johnathan Latimer's taut screenplay.
Donlevy is accused of murder, solicits aid of henchman Ladd to clear his name. Memorable, chilling sado-masochism of Bendix repeatedly beating Ladd is typical of the unorthodox undertow of sexual currents snaking through the plot. Ladd's character seems equally committed to Donlevy and the
mysterious, cyclopean Lake, at one point confiding he'd let the latter hang if it served his purpose. Despite the copout ending, Ladd's deadpan tough...