I just feel like there’s so little to say. I got to see this on the big screen; first time doing that, though I think this is my fourth time overall. It’s, you know, a perfect movie. It’s like the platonic ideal of film noir, all dark shadows, amoral people, desperate situations and no wins for anyone. The performances are first rate. Barbara Stanwyck is very good as the femme fatale. Fred MacMurray, wholesome all-American, is somehow at his best playing sleazy, unpleasant men (see also: The Apartment, another Wilder flick) and his performance here is really stellar. As he begins to realize that he’s in over his head, you can practically see the flop sweat all over him and the fear that’s in his eyes is real as he feels doom closing in. And Edward G. Robinson as the unflagging detective of the story . . . he’s sharp, funny, smart and unbelievably charismatic; it may just be his finest work. And that script clicks like they rarely do. The “suppose” exchange between MacMurray & Stanwyck all by itself is just something that feels unbearably divine; surely no human being wrote that. And it’s packed with great lines, all the way down to that devastating final scene. The great sequences are myriad; MacMurray confronting a man who saw him on the night of the murder, Stanwyck hiding behind the hall door, the murder in the car, all played in tight, beautiful close-up on Stanwyck’s face . . . this film is just staggering. How close is this film to greatness? “Closer than that, Walter.” 4 stars.
tl;dr – iconic film noir holds up as one of the finest thrillers and most perfectly crafted films of all time; great performances and an unbelievably whip-smart script; the sky’s the limit with this one. 4 stars.