A watered down version of Hammett's novel of political corruption turned into a whodunnit and romance. It's an attractive wise-cracking, hard-boiled affair as far as it goes but lacks true film noir credentials. Alan Ladd is good as cool Ned Beaumont, the brains and loyal right-hand man of Brian Donlevy's political boss, but William Bendix steals the show, as a sadistic hoodlum who enjoys job satisfaction in his work. Veronica Lake appears as the ice maiden love interest but the real love affairs are between Ladd and Donlevy and, even more disturbingly, between Ladd and Bendix. Ladd appears to enjoy taking punishment as much as Bendix enjoys giving it out in the most extended sadistic beating that 1942 censors would allow. The original intention was to film 'Red Harvest' and we can only dream about what a film that would have been but, as is the case here, the political corruption would have been watered down, complete with a marshmallow-soft happy ending.