The Woman on Pier 13

Her beauty served a mob of terror whose one mission is to destroy!

Drama Thriller
73 min     4.9     1950     USA


Communists blackmail a shipping executive into spying for them.


John Chard wrote:
You can't quit. They wont let you! The Woman on Pier 13 (AKA: I Married a Communist) is directed by Robert Stevenson and collectively written by Charles Grayson, Robert Hardy Andrews, George W. George and George F. Slavin. It stars Robert Ryan, Laraine Day, John Agar, Thomas Gomez, Janis Carter, Richard Rober and William Talman. Music is by Leigh Harline and cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca. Brad Collins (Ryan) was a one time member of the communist party. Now married and thriving in business, his world is turned upside down when the CPUSA come to seek him out for influential favours. It wasn't easy for director Stevenson, what with RKO mogul Howard Hughes interfering as he forced home his anti-communist slant, so much so the whole pic comes off as an almost there type of piece. Casting aside that it's all a bit daft these days, with its red hysteria leanings (though it serves as a most interesting social document of the era), there's a number of tight scenes and enough moody atmospherics to keep this out of basement hell. Characterisations are rich in noir traditions, a protag whose past is back to bite him, a slinky femme fatale, a dutiful wife in the dark, and villains of substance. Be it Gomez's weasel Commie boss stomping around like a malevolent tyrant or Talman's fairground working hit-man for hire, the latter with a dress code as mirthful as it is strangely unnerving, the baddies offer up some sort of balance in a screenplay that's not sure where it ideally stands. The violence hits hard, with shocking deaths, and in good dark noir style the finale holds court for the right reasons. Add in a cast who don't let anyone down and the great Musuraca showing his photographic skills (though not as much as we would like), then it's a more than decent viewing experience. But the proviso is that you do have to let the propaganda go above your head to get to those decent rewards. 6/10