From the director who gave us some of the memorable westerns like ‘True Grit’, this is not a hardboiled noir of its time but surely an interesting watch for several reasons. Henry Hathaway’s this partial noir has touch of documentary, investigative journalism and drama and what’s make it more interesting premise is that its based on fact file of miscarriage of justice of a wrongly convicted man who got justice after eleven years due to the efforts made by a reporter. So after eleven years a case of a cop’s murder and its legal justice is challenged by an old lady’s classified ad. A skeptical reporter of a Chicago newspaper with his ambivalent stand checking the investigation and ran an exclusive stories to help find out the evidence. The case turns emotional for him on one hand and compulsive on other hand by his editor’s insistence to sell more copies. But as the story starts gaining the momentum, it challenges the authority. There’s lot of pressure on press by legal powers of police and judiciary. The reporter has to try hard uncovering the evidence and check out the witness who falsely identified the innocent man in court and he’s running short of time.
Jimmy Stewart plays that persistent and cynical reporter McNeal here and he’s always decent man to watch in those classic phase of American cinema; surely a reason enough for me to watch the film. It’s interesting to witness how
Hollywood exploited new technical advancement
of its time as props in crime/noir films. Lie detector check and blow ups here
plays significant role in investigation and its detailed explanation seems
dated today, but an appropriate and advanced one at the time of its release.
However I hate to watch man like Lee J. Cobb used so frivolously, Stewart
surely played his part well.
An average recommendation for Stewart fans and noir lovers.