“We’re tougher than any truck ever come off an assembly line.”
A trucker (George Raft) and his brother (Humphrey Bogart) hoping to “go independent” accept an offer from a wealthy widow (Ida Lupino) to help run her trucking business, not knowing Lupino secretly killed her husband (Alan Hale) in an attempt to make herself available for Raft, who instead has fallen for a beautiful waitress (Ann Sheridan).
Raoul Walsh directed this gritty trucking noir, featuring the inimitable Ida Lupino in her breakthrough role as a mentally unstable, murdering femme fatale. Raft (attempting a “cleaner” on-screen image), Bogart (about to earn leading-man status in Walsh’s High Sierra), and sassy Sheridan are all fine — but this is truly Lupino’s show; it’s easy to imagine Bette Davis playing her character in the film’s inspiration, Bordertown (1935). Lupino knows what she wants and will do anything to get it: poor, likable Hale doesn’t stand a chance, and Raft’s hopes for happiness and stability are nearly dashed. Arthur Edeson’s cinematography is appropriately atmospheric throughout, and Walsh nicely contrasts the brothers’ working-class travails with Lupino’s life-of-leisure. This one’s worth a look.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Ida Lupino as Lana Carlsen
- Alan Hale as Ed Carlsen
- Arthur Edeson’s cinematography
- A cracker-jack script: “The doors made me do it!”
Yes, for Lupino’s breakthrough performance.