Clifford Odets’ Clash by Night, presented on Broadway over a decade earlier, reaches the screen in a rather aimless drama of lust and passion.
Clash captures much of the drabness of the seacoast fishing town, background of the pic, but only occasionally does the narrative’s suggested intensity seep through. It is the story of a woman, buffeted by life’s realities, who returns to her hometown after 10 years, only to find that the escapism she has sought is still beyond her reach. She marries a fisherman for security reasons, ultimately being forced to choose between two men.
Barbara Stanwyck plays the returning itinerant with her customary defiance and sullenness. It is one of her better performances. Robert Ryan plays the other man with grim brutality while Marilyn Monroe is reduced to what is tantamount to a bit role.