AlfredAngier’s review published on Letterboxd:
I wasn't expecting a lot of the twists and turns which says a lot about how good this film was as all the pieces are there and you know how it'll end up but the journey was intriguing as heck.
Lizabeth Scott plays Jane Palmer who gets a bag with cash literally thrown into her lap while driving with her husband Alan (Arthur Kennedy) and the two face a conundrum: Keep the life altering amount of money or turn it in to the police? It wouldn't be a noir if they did the right thing, even though Alan wants to and that's where the first fun twist is.
Jane is one of the coldest and most fatal of femmes with a hunger for money and she won't let anyone stand in her way including classic noir staple Dan Duryea as Danny Fuller who turns up claiming the money is his and wants it back.
The cat and mouse between the players is great and the added pressure of Alan's sister Kathy (Kristine Miller) living across the hall and an old war buddy named Don Blake (Don DeFore) showing up unannounced adds tension to the proceedings with Scott playing it cool one minute and breaking down to try and play on the sympathies of the men around her the next in an excellent performance that's part Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity and part Faye Dunaway in Chinatown.
Duryea also deserves a mention as this is the best I've seen him dialing back his performance to a more realistic scale instead of going big like he sometimes tends to which does nothing to dampen his menace and the subversion of his persona as a tough gangster to reveal a much more fragile character is another point in the film's favor but this is Scotts show and she owns every second.
There are a few stumbles however.
Don's character comes off as incredibly unlikable and a man knows best type which even though he's right about Jane the way it's played is just icky patriarchy through and through. Could have been written and performed better.
The forced love story that Kathy has is also unneeded and adds nothing to the main story, it feels very tacked on. Ditto for the way Kathy just leaves when someone is thought to be missing. That's not how humans react and I couldn't tell how mnay of the issues I had with Kathy and Don were a script issue and how much it was an acting one.
A more nuanced look at why Jane felt so stifled in her life also would have been nice but it's the 40's so women don't need any sort of reason to be unstable and the fainting bit was completely ridiculous.
All in all a really solid noir that I'll need to rewatch because it's on the bubble of being a 4 star film for me but a few things held it back.
The copy I watched was really good qualty too as it was a blu ray version that was restored by UCLA off of a few surviving prints, thanks film nerds.