"I was born when you kissed me. I died when you left me. I lived a few weeks while you loved me."
Have you ever had a friend whom you knew was a shoplifter; and, then, when something of value went missing from your place, you immediately thought of the last time that friend was over? Or, have you ever been in a relationship with a person who was prone to violence as a solution to everyday annoyances; and you always wondered when you would become the annoyance one day?
I detest Ted Turner and almost everything he stands for, except his love of old movies. Thanks to his TCM channel, I got to see this movie from 1950 last night and I cannot get over both how wonderful it is and how mysterious it is that I didn't even know it existed. I've seen plenty of Bumpy GoKart movies, but I don't think I've ever seen one in which he comes across more naturally than he does in this one. I get a feeling that this role shows who he really was as a man moreso than any other.
If you've been around violence quite a bit in your life and know how unpredictable it is, this movie gives you as good a sense of that as any I've ever seen. In fact, it's the crux of the storyline. And if this way of living is completely foreign to you, you will totally empathize with the leading lady, played by Gloria Grahame. The director, Nicholas Ray, was married to her at the time, and that marriage was falling apart at the same time this film was being made. This may be why she is so perfect in this role; she feels as if she's getting hammered from both Bogart as well as Ray. I'm surprised she came out of it without a nervous breakdown.
If you're a student of the Hollywood blacklisting and Red-scares of the '50s, you'll see all sorts of undertones here. If you're not it won't matter. It is, after all, a melodramatic love story.
If you enjoy the film noir genre and haven't seen this yet, you are in for an amazing treat.