John Payne stars as Ben Grace, a big time wheeler and dealer who works for a top crime boss named Solly Casper (Ted de Corsia). He plays both ends up the middle and this leads to trouble.
Up and coming politician Frank Jansen (Kent Taylor) is going to be elected Mayor and Casper wants to stop it as it will mean his crime organization is finished. Grace manages to get Jansen to put a detective friend of his in a top spot, but detective Dave Dietz (Frank Gerstal) isn't dishonest and this also causes problems.
Grace also gets romantically involved with Jansen's gorgeous secretary, June Lyons (Rhonda Fleming). He does this because he knows she loves Jansen and he hopes to get some dirt on him to topple him. Adding to the trouble is June's equally beautiful sister Dorothy (Arlene Dahl) who has just been released from prison for theft.
Things really smoulder for a while as Grace makes moves and finally seduces June away from Frank, but also has to contend with Dorothy who has some twisted ideas of her own on how to seduce a man.
In 1956 you really couldn't talk about things too frankly on screen, but Dahl's character of Dorothy makes it very clear she likes men who slap her around and abuse her. She sizzles every time she is in a scene as does Rhonda Fleming.
Both women are to die for and it all works very, very well in this James M. Cain based screenplay. The color photography takes nothing away from the dark and brooding atmosphere of this somewhat obscure film noir gem.
The rest of the cast for this stellar film includes Ellen Corby, Lance Fuller, Buddy Baer, Roy Gordon and Myron Healey. A recommended gem for noir fans, or for fans of delectable women like Dahl and Fleming.