Director: Robert Montgomery
Year Released: 1947
Gruff WWII vet Gagin (Montgomery) travels to San Pablo in the American Southwest to get revenge against hearing-deficient crook Hugo (Fred Clark) for the death of his cohort, Shorty. Perverse and fun noir - the title is highly suggestive and the presence of a curious young Mexican girl named Pila (Wanda Hendrix) - who 'rides' said horse - basically speaks for itself (the second time she's on the carousel, Montgomery is next to her and under a blanket). The hammy hardboiled dialogue and the nutty, logically baffling scenes at the very end could have used a rewrite by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer: bloody and delirious, Gagin confronts Hugo unarmed - endangering himself and Pila - and waits for the script to save him. Montgomery comes in a bit too strong (and is miscast) as the lead - his face and demeanor are too kind for this sort of sordidness - but as a filmmaker he's serviceable. One thing is for sure: everybody needs a drinking buddy like Pancho.