The Ending

The movie was really good but the ending was awful. Having Father Dolan calling to Eddie and telling him the gates were open made no sense.

Eddie was a cheap crook who ruined the lives of everyone he came in contact with. Everyone around him was trying to help him but when things didn't go his way his true nature showed up.

When the trucking boss wouldn't give him his job back he punched him and insinuated that he couldn't go straight now. When Joan wouldn't get him the gun in prison he wouldn't talk to her and later blamed her for the position he found himself in. When Father Dolan wouldn't open the gate and moved closer to him, he shot him.

Eddie was always looking for someone to blame for the position he found himself in. But he was the one who had committed those earlier crimes, so it was up to him to work harder to overcome his past. But he wanted things handed to him and when they weren't he blamed everyone for the position he found himself in.

Eddie may have been innocent of the crime he was convicted of, but when he was cleared he still wouldn't believe the people around him who were trying to help.

This movie is a great example of an early film noir. In this movie the good woman was dragged down by a homme fatale, the counterpart to the femme fatale. Her fatal flaw was that she loved him too much.

Fritz Lang was a great director, but I think someone made him tack that Hollywood ending on to the film.


As a whole, I liked the movie, but Eddie's (Fonda) character was poorly developed, and I think poorly cast. Fritz Lang seemed to want to portray him as a victim of society and circumstances, yet he was a violent thug that I couldn't develop any empathy or sympathy for.

Sylvia Sidney's character was equally odd at the end, giving birth alone in a shack in the woods, then dumping the kid off like a bag of dry cleaning? If Eddie was on death row for 5 months and incarcerated for the trial, how did she even get pregnant?


I also think it was a little cheesy, but I'll forgive it because the rest of the film was so brilliant.

I don't think we're really meant to think he was an entirely good person, and the ending doesn't nessecarily imply that he's going to heaven, just that he is about to be free of the hell that has been his life.


I disagree with you about Eddie. The film wanted to show how easy it is to become a victim of circumstance. You make it sound as though there's no such thing as desperation. The truck job was the only thing he could get. This film took place in a time when it was very difficult to find any kind of job. The fact that he was fired and would have to deny his wife the dream home(not to mention starve) was probably more than enough to send any normal person down the wrong path mentally. I'm not saying everyone would turn to crime in that sort of situation. But just what do you do?
For a man in his shoes, it was all but too easy to go back to the criminal world. Where he was guaranteed employment, and could take care of his family. But he tried desperately not to do that. Miraculously, he did manage to keep from returning to that path. But was falsely accused and sentenced to death. No wonder he was so desperate as to shoot father Dolan. Why would he trust him? Why would he trust any representative of the legal system? The state was about to sanction murder by killing an innocent man...