The tough-minded terseness of co-writer Samuel Fuller meets Sirk’s elaborately stylized mise-en-scène in this breathless, couple-on-the-run noir. The pulpy premise follows good-guy parole officer Cornel Wilde as he goes bad for sultry ex-con Patricia Knight (a Rita Hayworth lookalike and Wilde’s real-life wife). After she shoots a guy, the pair hit the road, descending into ever-more-desperate criminality. With its field of endlessly pumping derricks, the oil-rig finale looks forward to the suggestive symbolism of Written on the Wind. Also of interest: a still from the film—Knight framed in a maze of geometric shadows and mid-century modern design—inspired a series of paintings by Pop Art pioneer Richard Hamilton.
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