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Welles turned a mediocre novel into a brilliant film by overturning all the expectations of the crime thriller. Although the film remains an absorbing intrigue-the story of a murder plan that unfolds as a yacht makes its luxurious way along the Pacific-every scene is a showcase for Welles's cinematic inventiveness, and the whole adds up to a significant statement on the evils of money lust. Welles pulled off a coup by casting himself as a totally sympathetic character, an Irish sailor with humanitarian politics who becomes a pawn in the game of the greedy rich.

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