Low Budget Noir.
- Impact review by Steve Mason
Strictly B film noir about an unfaithful wife (Helen Walker) who schemes to murder her rich industrialist husband (Brian Donlevy) with the help of her lover on a car journey. Only the man fails to complete the job, and directly afterwards is consumed in the flames of a crash with a petrol truck leaving the world to believe Donlevy has died. While the husband stumbles into a small town in Idaho to work as a mechanic for the tomboyish Ella Raines, Walker is busted by smart Irish cop Charles Coburn and goes on trial for a murder that didn't happen.
Impact shows how robust the conventions of film noir are. The film is a reshuffling of noir archetypes, made by an unremarkable director and crew (save lauded cinematographer Ernest Laszlo before he graduated to major productions), and a familiar cast but more commonly in supporting roles. But it's still a very entertaining film, with an atmosphere that has a way of staying with you.
Donlevy isn't all that comfortable in romantic situations, but he's fine as a schmuck that gets played for a sap and Raines lifts the second half as the unambiguously good girl. Walker makes an excellent femme fatale.
Lubin was a lifelong low budget director but he could turn out a pacy thriller and he handles the narrative well. The location shooting around San Francisco is a bonus, and while not all that artistic, the visual contrasts between the Frisco and rural Idaho are striking. American film noir very seldom lets you down.
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