Spencer Tracy's best film, playing the one-armed stranger. The supporting cast of Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine are utterly convincing. You can almost smell their fear as they strive to bully - then kill - the unwelcome intruder.
For me, Robert Ryan steals the film. His performance oozes a guilt which he strives to justify with speech after speech of nauseating jingoism. He proves true the phrase: 'Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel'.
Borgnine and Marvin play standard goons but with a genuine gusto.
Even the lesser rôles are filled with character. Note Tracy's drab but hilarious conversation with the unnamed canteen owner: 'We got chilli with beans and chilli without beans'...'Hmm. What if you don't like chilli?'...'Well, that's what they made ketchup for.' Pure poetry. Shakespeare couldn't better that.