It looks like some student from film school wrote an assignment. It follows every possible rule. And hey! It works.
The director Joseph H. Lewis is following the instructions. But let’s give the writers their due. MacKinlay Kantor, and Dalton Trumbo actually wrote this script with probably a manual in their mind. This is supposed to be a compliment that it’s like it was printed out from a company that manufactures a Saturday night movie going experience. “It’s on such high gear.” the lead confesses in the film once. And it’s true. The film is on the run from the first go. And what then catches our eyes eerily is the stillness. The closeness, the chemistry between the lead is exactly like the crime genre. Completely wrong practically yet it is so provocative, filmy, entertaining and understandable that you cannot not fall for those cheesy one liners. What I love more than those are tiny details like combing hair and going through mundane events in the highlight of montage scenes that shows us the passing of time and events. Montage scenes are incredibly important though cheesy. And chase scenes are shot really nice. Surprisingly forward in terms of filmmaking. And its cinematography reminds me of Phantom thread. Plus, the zooming in of the camera. That’s seducing. The only time where the film grows corny is when it wants to advance the plot to known territories. This is something that can get tiresome for the viewers since we already know where this is heading towards and still we are told to witness the FIRST DRAFT of that scene. You’d have to swallow those few pieces of glass to fully enjoy the wine that this film is. Ironically some might say that it hasn’t aged well. But it does just fine.