Early in Tourneur’s terrifically compact, low-key adaptation of a 1947 David Goodis novel, a man and a woman (Aldo Ray and Anne Bancroft) strike up an acquaintance and decide to have dinner together. After they’re finished, the man is suddenly hijacked and spirited away by two thugs, played by Brian Keith and Rudy Bond. In an extended flashback, we learn that Ray had crossed paths with the two men a year earlier during a camping trip, where they had accidentally left a bag containing $350,000. Now they want their money back. As always, Tourneur sifts the action into the settings, in this case an L.A. beachfront and the open spaces of Wyoming (brilliantly photographed by In a Lonely Place cinematographer Burnett Guffey). Ray and Keith, both subtle, gruff-voiced, and amiable actors, fit perfectly into Tourneur’s oddly unsettled universe.

Preceded by:
What Do You Think? (N. 1)
USA, 1937, 35mm, 11m
This first film in the series What Do You Think? attempts to understand an array of mysterious, extrasensory events happening to a screenwriter (Tourneur would direct the third as well). Print courtesy of Eye Filmmuseum.

Explore the Jacques Tourneur brochure flipbook or read below.