Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Ray Collins, and Marlene Dietrich
From its celebrated extended opening tracking shot to its rueful dissection of what makes a man, this ranks as one of the classic examples of the police thriller. A murder investigation draws in Mexican narcotics cop Heston, his new bride Leigh, Welles’ world-weary chief detective, and a raft of sick and sordid characters all with their own nasty agendas. The movie proves the adage that if power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Welles is kind to his Mercury Theater cohorts; look for Joseph Cotten and Mercedes McCambridge in unbilled small parts.