Several things raise this noir out of the ordinary and into the under-rated classic status - Nicholas Ray's clever direction; the beautiful B&W photography of shadow covered city and snow covered countryside; Bernard Herrmann's typically wonderful score and the lead performance of Robert Ryan as city detective Jim Wilson - stonily impassive and impressively grim. Driven by the loneliness of his life and the pressures of his job to a dangerous, sadistic loathing of the criminals he is dealing with, Wilson is sent out of the city for his own good to help investigate the murder of a local girl. His redemption comes in the shape of a blind woman called Mary (Ida Lupino), who knows more about the murder than she initially lets on. It's a shame that Ray didn't manage to stick with the originally planned ending -
Mary refuses Jim and he returns to the city alone but improved by his experiences and able to continue. As it stands the sentimental ending feels strange after all the sleaze of the city and the melancholy that's come before it, but all the same it's a strong film; excellently made and well worth a watch.