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The story is pretty standard melodrama and mostly predictable. Despite this, I was pretty interested throughout. For one thing, the filmmaking just seemed so assured. Nothing stands out necessarily but just the composition of shots and the way the story moves along just stayed continuously interesting for me. From the very noir beginning where we hear gunshots but don’t know who shot whom or why, the movie uses mostly flashback to tell the story. The biggest draw though is Joan Crawford. I’ve only watched her in Johnny Guitar prior to this and I don’t know what it is about her, but I can’t take my eyes off the screen when she’s on it. She just totally inhabits this role and makes what is a standard sympathetic hardworking mother character so fleshed out and real. She transforms seamlessly from the hardworking waitress to a sexy and calculating businesswoman. I am just in love with her right now and can’t wait to watch more of her films. Actually, Ann Blyth is fantastic too but right now I just want to find more Joan Crawford movies to watch.
Grade: B

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