Young Martha inadvertently causes the death of her cruel, authoritarian aunt. Martha lies to the cops, and Walter, who saw the crime, corroborates the girl’s story. Eventually, they wed out of convenience; the meek Walter is genuinely in love, and Martha thinks that her secret is safe.
The world cinema lost one of its most unheralded sirens in Lizabeth Scott, a film noir goddess dubbed “The Threat” by Paramount’s PR team. See her rub shoulders with Barbara Stanwyck and Kirk Douglas in this gem, which was nominated for Best Original Story at the Oscars!
The steady-as-she-goes direction is well paired with the soapy melodrama of Robert Rossen’s screenplay; a more expressive vision might’ve sent this camp careering past the threshold of tolerability, like Van Heflin’s DeSoto as he crashes into his hometown (“The road curved and I didn’t”).