All Joe Sullivan wants is “a breath of fresh air.” But when you’re serving time in stir for robbery, fresh air is a rare commodity. That’s about to change as mob boss Rick Coyle has greased the skids inside the prison walls, so Joe can make it outside where girlfriend Pat will be waiting. Things don’t exactly go as planned though, and car trouble forces the duo to get help from the only person nearby — strait-laced legal assistant Ann Martin, whom they kidnap and use to evade capture, unlocking an unexpected love triangle while dodging bullets from both sides of the law. This taut, suspenseful tale of one man’s desperate bid for freedom and the two women who love him comes courtesy of the dynamite moviemaking team of director Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton at the peak of their artistry. Film noir at its finest!
“Alton's cinematography is a thing of low-budget joy; using the very darkest blacks and the brightest whites smashed together in the same frame. We get the feeling that he used a single 100-watt bulb to light both films. Mann's skill was so apparent that he was quickly hired to direct a series of Jimmy Stewart Westerns that are still widely celebrated today.” —Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid