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This ambitious independent production was packaged by producer W. Lee Wilder, brother of Billy Wilder, and distributed by Republic. The title character, played with relish (and a bit of mustard) by Erich Von Stroheim, is an arrogant vaudeville artiste specializing in a trick-gunshot act. A dyed-in-the-wool misogynist, Flamarion at first pays little attention to his beautiful assistant Connie (Mary Beth Hughes)-just as well, since Connie is already married to Flamarion's other assistant, Al Wallace (Dan Duryea). Bored with marriage, Connie begins playing up to her boss, the result being the "accidental" death of Al during Flamarion's act. Having committed murder for Connie's sake, Flamarion fully expects to be sexually compensated-but he doesn't know the treacherous Connie as well as the late Al did. Future cult favorite Anthony Mann's direction is rather perfunctory, suggesting perhaps that he was somewhat intimidated in the presence of the flamboyant Von Stroheim. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
This is from the Mill Creek Mystery Classics 100 Movie Pack. This is a decent little movie with a really nasty woman. She is really quite beautiful, and in the Blue Angel tradition, makes a man twice her age and not all that attractive, fall for her. There's no fool like an old fool and you don't mess with Von Stroheim. I wasn't aware that the great actor/director made some pretty weak films over the years. This one survives pretty well. Von Stroheim plays Flamarion, a trick shot artist, who is in great demand. He gets into the business of an alcoholic and his cheating wife. She uses him, changes him, and then he wants revenge. The story is told by Flamarion as another vaudeville performer holds him in his arms as he dies. It is told in flashback. I have to admit knowing that things had no possibility of working out, yet because of the interesting nature of the characters, particularly the young woman (who is beautiful, even by modern standards). Those of us who have had those yearnings to be young again and have a second chance can easily sympathize as this man makes mistake after mistake; loving too much; trusting too much. I was fairly impressed by the movie, 3 Stars, 6-17-13