|Zachary Scott and Ann Sheridan|
While her husband is out of town, Chris Hunter (Ann Sheridan) returns from a party and is attacked in her home, ultimately killing her assailant. Chris tells her husband, Bob (Zachary Scott), as well as the police, that she never met the man, a sculptor named Tanner. But if that's the case, why did Tanner do a bust of a woman who looks exactly like Chris Hunter, and why are some people offering it to her husband for sale ..? This is an excellent Americanized variation on, and post-WW2 updating of, The Letter, but it takes awhile for the viewer to realize it as it has so many interesting elements of its own. Sheridan [Nora Prentiss] gives one of her best performances, and has an especially good moment when she has a heart to heart talk with her husband about things she did when he was overseas and why she did them. Zachary Scott [Ruthless] is also excellent, as is Lew Ayres [Damian: Omen 2] as the friend and lawyer who comes to the couple's assistance. Eve Arden certainly scores in the somewhat edgier-than-usual role of Bob's cousin, Paula, and the dialogue [by David Goodis and James Gunn] as she tries to explain Chris' wartime actions to Bob is trenchant and memorable. Marta Mitrovich is quietly effective as the angry widow, Mrs. Tanner; Steven Geray suitably oily as a kind of blackmailer and art dealer; Jerome Cowan appropriately wily as a prosecutor; and John Hoyt ever-grim as a suspicious police detective. This is probably director Vincent Sherman's [The Damned Don't Cry] finest hour and a half. A first-rate score by Max Steiner and fine Ernest Haller photography complete the ensemble.
Verdict: A snappy, sophisticated picture that on its own terms is nearly as good as the original ***1/2.