Nick Smith, the middle-aged proprietor of a roadside restaurant, hires drifter Frank Chambers as a handyman. Frank eventually begins an affair with Nick's beautiful wife Cora, who talks Frank into helping her kill Nick, by "accident." But the best laid plans......
Sassy Lana Turner and drifter John Garfield fall in love and plot to bump off her dull-as-ditchwater husband in smouldering film noir style. First they wire up his bath and then when that fails, they opt for the old car-pushed-off-the-cliff lark.
The film skilfully exploits the ambiguous moral subtext as the protagonists wrestle with their consciences and a brooding mutual mistrust. A dark, menacing atmosphere and a powerful denouement make this a triumph of plot-driven narrative and sparky dialogue.
Both leads excell at showing a true feeling (be it love or lust) but both covered in the guilty angst that one will betray the other. Edge of your seat stuff.
A good adaptation from the James M. Cain novel.