Archival 35mm Print
Cliff Robertson, Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay, Paul Dubov,
As a teenager, petty thief Tolly Devlin sees his father savagely beaten to death in a dark alley, and payback becomes his life’s pursuit. In Fuller’s purest film noir, starkly photographed by Hal Mohr in deep shadows with occasionally ricocheting cameras, Cliff Robertson’s Devlin is a brutishly single-minded protagonist, a far cry from the wily but magnetic pickpocket of Pickup on South Street or the hooker with a heart of gold in The Naked Kiss. Doomed by his revenge motive, he is an amoral hood through and through: his substitute mother cleans his wounds and tries to keep him straight, but he still eyes the combination lock on her safe. When a would-be lover declares her desire for his children, he responds with insults and derisive laughter. In Fuller’s noir universe, there’s no redemption for the pathologically obsessed.