Mike Hammer investigates the death of a woman who stopped his car on the highway, and finds himself caught up in a scheme far bigger than he expected.
There isn't much in the first hour and a half of this dark, violent film noir to indicate that it will swerve into science fiction before it's all over; even those who read the novel on which was based would be surprised, as the science fiction element did not appear in the original novel. Though that element of the fantastic definitely gives the movie a bigger ending than it might otherwise have had, the movie probably still qulifies as marginalia. Nonetheless, one of the great things about covering marginalia is it gives you a chance to get a little variety into the viewing schedule, and this great little film noir is a welcome diversion; you know you're watching something special when the credits roll by in the opposite direction at the top of the movie. There's a great cast here, with Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Cloris Leachman (in an early role), and Jack Elam. Robert Aldrich would later go on to direct WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, and created a whole new type of horror movie in the process; I suspect he would be one director whose oeuvre would be very interesting to investigate.