The picture starts with a tight, believable screenplay by Sydney Boehm, based on the William P. McGivern SatEvePost serial, and goes on from there through tense, forceful direction by Fritz Lang and topnotch trouping led by Glenn Ford.
It’s the story of a cop, a homicide sergeant, who busts up the crime syndicate strangling his city and its administration. Because he prefers to do his job and collect his pay honestly, he finds the going tough. So tough that his wife is murdered by an auto bomb intended for him, his child is threatened with kidnapping, and he loses his police job because of pressure from higher ups.
Ford’s portrayal of the homicide sergeant is honest and packs much wallop. Lang’s direction builds taut suspense, throwing unexpected, and believable, thrills at the audience.
Gloria Grahame’s character, that of a gangster’s sweetie, is choice and she makes it a colorful, important part of the picture.
Alexander Scourby, the man who heads the corrupt syndicate; Lee Marvin, his chief lieutenant; and Jeanette Nolan, the widow of a crooked cop who blackmails the syndicate, turn in strong individual performances.