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Crime of Passion Reviews

Stanwyck is at it again as a ruthlessly ambitious femme fatale and plays this one with all the gusto of an attacking Valkyrie. She begins as a tough sob sister columnist for a San Francisco newspaper, managing a terrific scoop by talking a murderess into surrendering to police. Working with her is police lieutenant Hayden, whom she visits in Los Angeles before going on to a better media spot in New York City. She becomes involved with Hayden and marries him, but bungalow life as a cop's wife proves mundane, and she finds his friends boring. To liven things up, Stanwyck avidly pushes hubby Hayden toward promotion; there's no reason why he shouldn't eventually become chief of police. To help his cause and relieve her own ennui, buttressing Barbara trysts with Burr, Hayden's superior, while firing off countless poison-pen letters that cause Dano, Hayden's friend and rival for a lofty post, to be transferred to a remote position. Burr fails to come through for Stanwyck, double-crossing her by reneging on his promise to promote Hayden and appointing another cop to the top slot. In a rage, Stanwyck steals a gun from the police station and shoots the ignoble Burr dead. Hayden then investigates, tracks down the stolen gun, and arrests his wife, taking her into custody with a sad shake of the head. Strong performances from Stanwyck, Hayden, and Burr cause this outlandish melodrama to rise above its own methodical doom. Stanwyck provides moments of sheer fascination in her cynical portrait of a hardboiled newswoman sneering at middle-class dilemmas.