Film - Feature | August 9 | 6:30 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
The time is ripe for Langs last, low-budget noir, on the subject of capital punishment and a D.A. trying to reach the governors chair on the bodies of executed men. A crusading newspaper publisher hatches a plot to prove that, on purely circumstantial evidence, an innocent man might be executed. Ace reporter Dana Andrews willingly lets himself be set up as the prime suspect in the murder of a stripper, to the horror of his fiancée (Joan Fontaine, amusingly overdressed in this grim mise-en-scène). A stocking planted here, a cigarette lighter there, a floozy eyewitness, and Andrews finds himself facing the Chair, smirking the good smirkuntil the proof of his little game fails to emerge and free him. But thats only the twist we expect to occur. Lang is less concerned with capital punishment than with showing that we are neither guilty nor innocent beyond a reasonable doubt.