This loose adaptation of James M. Cain's classic novel never coheres into more than the sum of several brilliant moments, most of which centre on Lana Turner's presence as Cora Smith, a bored housewife who co-opts drifter Frank Chambers (John Garfield) into the murder of her husband (Cecil Kellaway). Despite paling in comparison to Charles Vidor's portrayal of Gilda, Garnett and costume designer Irene nevertheless create a powerful continuity between Turner's shock of blonde hair and the white wardrobe in which she is continually clad, encapsulated in the iconic pan that introduces her, from toes to tips. That said, Turner's acting is fairly limited, removing the burden of charisma to the duo's sinister lawyer (Hume Cronyn), who insinuates himself into their drama in such a way as to imbue them with a pathetic disempowerment, or even victimhood, if only by externalising the ambiguous intentions that recur at key moments throughout it, and paving the way for the tragic conclusion. By comparison, Garfield is largely a sexual body, albeit not a particularly erotic one (in contrast to Visconti's version), while Kellaway's endearing performance doesn't offset the complete implausibility of his marriage to Turner. However, the greatest setback is the lack of any particularly atmospheric location. Most of the action takes place in and around a roadside diner that isn't elaborated at any great length - apart from the purchase of several accoutrements, most notably a giant neon sign, that simply clarify its distance from the lurid, hard-boiled world that is the real province of these characters, as Chambers' relentless compulsion to wander seems to acknowledge - while the beach scenes are atonal, attempting a fusion of melodrama and noir that recalls Mildred Pierce's entrapment, albeit in a more ecstatic, less domestic and, ultimately, less elegant register.