Directed by Tay Garnett, written by Harry Ruskin, Niven Busch (screen play), James M. Cain (novel)
A rambler falls in love with a restaurant owner’s wife and the two hatch plans to murder him and be together.
Based on James M. Cain’s novel, this was an important film for the ‘noir’ genre and features a steamy Lana Turner as the femme fatale and John Garfield as a handsome young vagabond. A back-to-back reading of the book and viewing of the film is not recommended, however, as this is an excellent movie with strong leads and supporting members, but direct comparison to its source reveals numerous narrative weaknesses. Nevertheless, the film accomplishes its goal of telling a shocking story of murder, forbidden love and tragedy.
In this rare situation and if you’re unfamiliar with both, the recommendation is to see the film first, then read the book. That way you’ll be greatly impressed both times.