United States Pictures, Inc./Warner Bros. Producer: Milton Sperling Screenwriter: Martin Rackin Cinematographer: Robert Burks Editor: Fred Allen Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Zero Mastel, Ted de Corsia. Everett Sloane
Bogart stars opposite calculating kingpin Everett Sloane in a complicated investigation plot that plays out as a layered series of flashbacks-within-a-flashback. The convoluted story structure is combined with many other noir traits: low-key, laconic acting; a somber, fatalistic mood; and world-weary, cynical characters on both sides of the law. In paradigmatic noir fashion. Bogart eventually resorts to the same ruthlessness as his prey, promising "the chair" to uncooperative witnesses, and even threatening the family of a hit man (the unforgettable Zero Mastel) in one devastating scene.