James Curtayne (Spencer Tracy) was once a brilliant defense attorney, saving scores from prison-time and death row. But that was before a part of him crawled inside a bottle and never crawled out. He now practices civil law… it’s safer that way. But when John O’Hara (James Arness), a kid from the neighborhood, gets hauled up on Murder One, he allows himself to get cajoled into returning to his former vocation. It’s a mistake. The DA runs circles around the alcohol addled attorney, and O’Hara now faces execution. It’s Jimmy’s worst nightmare come true. The question is, what’s he planning to do about it? a young John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven) teams up with seasoned cinema vet Tracy for this noir-tinged legal drama, and it proves a potent combo – a solid, by-the-numbers thriller rises above the machinations of plot to provide a compelling portrait of a very good, but very weak man in thrall to some very bad, very strong impulses.
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