Above all, I am a fan, a hopelessly inquisitive fan, just like you.
"They say there's no such thing as bad people. Only bad situations."
A rare flash of empathy in a genre too dominated by moral extremes (good cops vs. bad criminals, bad cops vs. badder criminals). Unfortunately, the film's pat ending undermines this theme, but not to the detriment of the filmmaking and performances. Takashi Shimura has to be one of the most underrated actors of all time. While he's usually cast as an older man shaped by his experiences, he…
William Goldman adapts Ross Macdonald?! A writer's dream on paper that comes off a little too formulaic in execution... until its (open) ending, a hallmark of the source material and an early flash of the narrative ambiguity popularized by '70s cinema, right down to the final freeze-frame. The material is further elevated by Grade-A Hunk™ Paul Newman, steering well clear of Bogey's shadow without fully subverting the archetype a la Elliott Gould in The Long Goodbye. The fact that his character chooses to finish the job over a home-cooked breakfast with Janet Leigh tells me that I'd never hack it as a gumshoe.