Crime of Passion is directed by Gerd Oswald and written by Jo Eisinger. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, Sterling Hayden, Raymond Burr and Fay Wray. Music is by Paul Dunlap and cinematography by Joseph LaShelle.
It's a strange one in many ways, in that it's a film of considerable intelligence and wry social critique. It even folds inwards the role of the film noir femme fatale, marking it out as fascinating. Yet it never fully delivers for dramatic purpose, leaving it as a modest entry in the last throes of the classic era film noir cycle.
Plot sees Stanwyck as Kathy Ferguson, a strong and intelligent newspaper columnist who really doesn't suffer fools gladly. However, when she helps the police with a crime she meets and falls in love with Lt. Bill Doyle (Hayden), and after a whirlwind romance she marries him and finds herself in a picket fence suburban hell. Tiring of Bill standing still, happy with his place in society, Kathy takes drastic action to elevate their life to greater heights...
Such is the quality of lead cast members doing what they did best, film manages to hold the attention from a narrative perspective, and with LaShelle's photography firmly dealing in the 50s noir realm of darkness in daylight, there's a claustrophobic atmosphere wrung out to accentuate Kathy's suburban Suzy Homemamker suffocation. The wry observations of social standings and the woman's role in the 50s home is given skilled direction by Oswald (A Kiss Before Dying), the feminist viewpoints standing tall at the front of the play.
Unfortunately all the brains and technical attributes involved in production can't hide the fact that it's very rarely exciting or suspenseful, practically crawling to a sedate resolution that isn't exactly satisfying. There's a lot of good here, making it worth a watch for fans of the stars or for those that like some brains in their noir diet. But you may end up as frustrated as I was come the end... 6/10