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Directed by Nicholas Ray

United States 1952 82 mins.

Injecting atmosphere and detailed character development to an already very strong script by A.I. Bezzerides, Robert Ryan stars as Jim Wilson, a hardboiled-as-can-be New York detective sent upstate to investigate a murder. What Wilson happens upon, however, is far more complicated, as the murder-suspect Danny (Sumner Williams) is mentally ill, and Wilson is quickly paired with Walter Brent (Ward Bond), father of the murdered man. Further complicating matters is Wilson’s immediate enchantment with Mary (Ida Lupino), Danny’s sister who happens to be blind and saint-like. Wilson, sensing his own deliverance and rejuvenation, has a choice to make: help the clearly ailing Danny or succumb to the pressures of traditional justice. Although met with luke-warm critical and popular reception upon release, the film has since become widely considered “one of the loveliest of Nick Ray’s movies.”—Dave Kehr.