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Here's an opportunity to see the noir melodrama recently remade as The Deep End; to my mind this 1949 feature directed by Max Ophuls is a much better film in almost every respect. As Dave Kehr once wrote in these pages, “It's one of the director's most perverse stories of doomed love, with Joan Bennett as a bored middle-class housewife . . . and James Mason as an engagingly exotic Irishman who attempts to blackmail her. Naturally, they feel a certain attraction.” Adapted by Henry Garson and R.W. Soderborg from Elizabeth Sanxay Holding's novel The Blank Wall, this 82-minute thriller gets wonderful performances from both leads and makes interesting use of certain elements—such as a black maid and a Christmas setting—discarded in the remake.

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