Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and an investigator uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly woman.
Film noir classic with extraordinary b/w photography and excellent performances, Ava Gardner, however, is not quite convincing as femme fatale; the plot is more an imagination about Ernest Hemingways story than an adaptation.
On renewed viewing: Hemingway's famous short story is merely the trigger for an intriguing, complex Noir crime story, arguably one of genre's best; both Lancaster as the 'innocent' cuckold and Gardner as the inscrutable femme fatale set standards with their performances.
Halliwell***: "Elaborate tale of cross and double-cross, stunningly executed."
Maltin****: "Compelling crime drama...Film provides fireworks, early success of Lancaster (in film debut) and Gardner."