Time: 87 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Film Noir
SYNOPSIS: Fascinated by gorgeous Mrs. Bannister, seaman Michael O'Hara joins a bizarre yachting cruise, and ends up mired in a complex murder plot.
BOTTOM LINE: An exceedingly dark tale of obsession, betrayal and murder that will leave you in need of a hot shower to wash away the arrogance, bitterness and utter contempt for humanity displayed here. Welles directs a no holds barred look at the rich and selfish, comparing them to frenzied sharks in their battles for wealth and power. He casts himself as Mike O'Hara, a poor sailor lured by the luscious Elsa (Hayworth) into her world of privilege. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she wants a real man to play with. Her husband, one of San Francisco's top criminal lawyers, isn't happy about the situation, but he likes Mike and needs him around for his own reasons. Though hopelessly attracted to Elsa, Mike despises working for her husband. He wants Elsa to run away with him, but she's not about to leave her husband's wealth behind.
Desperate for cash, Mike becomes involved in a murder for hire scheme that will leave him holding the bag, though he's too dumb to realize it. Or so his rich friends think. Their complicated web of lies comes crashing down around them, leaving no one untouched by their malicious machinations. Brilliantly shot and executed this cruel world breathes dank life onto the screen. The cast captures the inhumanity of their characters perfectly. If anything, they're too unlikable. This story is pushed along on wave after wave of bitterness and betrayal, so those who need a happy ending to be satisfied at the end of a film better beware. The performances of Welles, Hayworth and Sloane make this a worthy effort. Hayworth finally gets a part that allows her to show off her chops. Unfortunately, she uses them here to play an utterly unrepentant bitch. Ah, the glory days of Hollywood. When men were men and the ladies were in control.