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One of the loveliest of Nick Ray's movies: this 1952 feature begins as a harsh film noir and gradually shifts to an ethereal romanticism reminiscent of Frank Borzage. Robert Ryan is the unstable hero, a thuggish cop sent upstate in search of a murderer; he ends up falling in love with the killer's blind sister (Ida Lupino, who took over some of the direction when Ray fell ill). Ray excels both in the portrayal of the corrupt urban environment, a swirl of noirish shadows and violent movements, and in his exalted vision of the snow-covered countryside, filmed as a blindingly white, painfully silent field for moral regeneration. With Ward Bond and an excellent score by Bernard Herrmann.

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