Playing a discharged naval flier returning home from the Pacific first to find his wife unfaithful, then to find her murdered and himself in hiding as the suspect, Alan Ladd does a bangup job. Performance has a warm appeal, while in his relentless track down of the real criminal, Ladd has a cold, steel-like quality that is potent. Fight scenes are stark and brutal, and tremendously effective.
Story gets off to a slow start, but settles to an even pace that never lets down in interest. Audience may guess the killer, as the story follows several alleys of suspects, but pic always has suspense, with sufficient variations in mood. Ladd is one of trio to return from the wars, others being William Bendix and Hugh Beaumont. Ladd’s path crosses Veronica Lake’s, latter being separated wife of a nightclub owner who is one of the killer-suspects. Scenes between Ladd and Lake are surprisingly sensitive, with an economy of dialog and emotion doubly appealing.
1946: Nomination: Best Original Screenplay