I was struck now by how much it is a film of two halves. For me, the first half is brilliant – a powerful depiction of the tough conditions facing truckers – while the second half is a rather weak film noir with a far-fetched crime plot. However, I am aware some critics think just the opposite and love the noir part.
GRITTY DRAMA: Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan and George Raft
Spoilers behind cut
Unfortunately, the second half of the film turns into pure melodrama, as Raft takes a job at a truck company run by Alan Hale (one of my favourite Warner character actors, and the main highlight of this section of the movie). Raft runs into a femme fatale, Ida Lupino, playing Hale’s bored wife – and it all ends in murder. I enjoyed Hale’s performance as the drunken husband, but found Lupino’s performance wildly over the top, especially when she goes mad in court. I know this part is said to be a film noir, but I’d say it isn’t a very good one! A shame Walsh didn’t just stick with the tough realism – and the real issues – of the opening 45 minutes or so.