Joan Crawford is at her best in Michael Curtiz’s noir melodrama about a waitress-turned-restaurateur discovering the cost of success.
Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth
USA 1945. 111min
Adapted from James M. Cain’s novel, Curtiz’s pacy mix of melodrama and film noir begins with a murder before flashing back to show how the titular protagonist’s progress from single-mother waitress to successful restaurateur comes at a cost, thanks to fickle men and a brattish daughter. Crawford, perfectly cast, won an Oscar, while Ernest Haller’s camerawork and Anton Grot’s sets are likewise elegant and expressive.