It doesn’t really get much better than Raymond Chandler and this was his first original screenplay (ironically, his books were adapted by others) and it reunited Alan Ladd, fresh off WW2 duties, with Veronica Lake, whose performance caused the the author to dub her ‘Moronica Lake.’ She hadn’t a clue who he was. Ladd’s the discharged Naval flier fresh home in Los Angeles to find his adulterous wife has been murdered – and he’s the number one suspect. There were story issues because of objections to the plotline – William Bendix has a plate in his skull from war injuries and has forgotten he killed Doris Dowling – so Chandler was literally bribed to finish the script – which insulted him – and caused delays when he took to the liquor cabinet even with the understanding of producer friend John Houseman. So the ending isn’t quite as the author envisaged due to this censoriousness but the playing is great and LA looks crisp in the unflinchingly crisp frames of Lionel Lindon’s camera and George Marshall’s peppy direction. Prime noir.