The film plays fast and excitingly in dealing with Humphrey Bogart’s efforts to bring the head of a gang of killers to justice. The script uses the flashback technique to get the story on film, but it is wisely used so as not to tip the ending and spoil suspense.
Footage kicks off with a brief prolog by Senator Estes Kefauver, crime investigation committee head, explaining necessity of bringing crooks to justice. Story starts with Bogart ready to crack a case on which he has worked four years; he has a witness who can pin a murder rap on the gang head. However, the witness, in fear, escapes and falls to his death. Seeking to find some other tiny clue in the bulk of evidence, Bogart reviews the material gathered over the long years, permitting flashbacks into the past, and finally picks a single twist that gives him his lead and sets up an exciting finale.
Bretaigne Windust’s direction is thorough, never missing an opportunity to sharpen suspense values, and the tension builds constantly.