Director Otto Preminger's second consecutive film based on a Ben Hecht screenplay (WHIRLPOOL was first) stars Andrews as a vicious police detective--the son of an infamous mobster--prone to beating confessions out of suspects. While trying to get information from a robbery suspect that
will connect the crime with Merrill, a top mob boss, Andrews lets his violent nature spin out of control and he accidentally kills the suspect. Obsessed with nailing Merrill, Andrews fakes the evidence so it appears that the killing was a gangland slaying committed under Merrill's orders.
Unfortunately, police conclude that an innocent cab driver, Tully, was the culprit because he had a score to settle with the victim who was his ex-son-in-law. When Andrews meets the victim's widow, Tierney, he begins to fall in love with her, which complicates matters. Desperate to save Tully and
hang Merrill in one deft stroke, Andrews decides to force a confrontation with Merrill and his goons in the hope they will kill him. To clear Tully, Andrews leaves behind a letter confessing to the murder. The plot goes awry, however, when the gang gives up instead of killing Andrews. Despite his
hero status within the department, Andrews is plagued by guilt over Tully's situation. Rather than live with himself and risk continuing a relationship with Tierney based on horrible lies, Andrews confesses to the police. The noble gesture only strenghtens Tierney's love and she vows to wait for
him during his prison term.
Hecht once again examines the fine line between cop and criminal with memorable results. Consumed with a desire to make up for his father's criminal reputation, Andrews demonstrates the same savagery--only this time wearing a badge. Blind to the fundamental contradiction between his quest and his
methods, Andrews finally crosses the line that separates the hunters from the hunted. Andrews is a man torn by conflicting emotions and the situation only gets worse when he begins to fall in love with the widow of the man he murdered. Andrews gives one of his best performances as this
complicated, explosive man whose darker impulses begin dominating his personality.
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