So What’s The Story? Hard-boiled mobster Beth Austin (played by Joan Crawford - yes, you read that right) has been robbing Louisiana casinos with her awful boyfriend Matt (David Brian), his brother Will (Philip Carey) and Will’s girlfriend Ann (played ably by Mari Aldon). Beth’s eyesight is getting progressively worse so she goes to Indianapolis to see renown eye surgeon Ben (Dennis Morgan) so she doesn’t go blind. Matt is the jealous type — very, very jealous — and is not happy with Beth leaving his sight for 5 seconds, so he’s unhappy about this. Beth gets the surgery, and she and Ben fall in love… and Matt isn’t having it. Meanwhile, the FBI is closing in Matt and the gang, and their stupid antics make this worse for them. Beth is concealing her criminal past from Ben, and keeps trying to push him away even though they are falling for each other.
Sounds like a possibly good noir, right? Or a maybe a fun Douglas Sirk melodrama? Well, it’s not. Almost everything in this film falls flat, from the direction to the story to a good deal of the acting. The metaphor of Dr. Ben having Beth see the light — literally and figuratively — is very heavy handed. Matt is written so poorly and as played by David Brian, he’s just one note: GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!! And that gets really tiresome really fast. At one point, Matt and clan are driving up to see Joan in Indianapolis in a camper van. Matt and his brother start fighting over something stupid and Matt throws something through a window, crashing glass on the road by a motorcycle cop. Matt then just kills the cop (!) when he arrives. It’s all just dumb. You don’t see how he’s a leader of the pack or why Beth fell in love with him in the first place.
The only scene with some genuine tension is when Ben makes a stop at a women’s prison to do some pro bono work on the prisoners. Joan sits in the car and watches some women file out of a truck.
Trust me when I say that this scene has more tension and suspense to it than the climatic gun fight at the end of the film where Joan literally sits for most of it. Ugh. At least she could have a bit of fun off the set…
Oh, And How’s Joan? Joan is on autopilot here. She’s just Harriet Craig without the wit and intelligence. it was the last film of her contract with Warner Brothers and you can tell she just wanted to leave. I know I did.
Should I See It? Unless if you are a total completionist, skip this. It’s one of her forgotten films for a reason.
How Can I See It? It’s available for rental via YouTube, iTunes, Google Play and Vudu.