Not quite like anything the postwar screen had ever witnessed, Burt Lancaster’s first exposure to cinema audiences is primal, passive and explosive: a marked man lies in bed, stoically awaiting his assassination. As the story of “the Swede” cleverly unfolds through multiple characters’ flashbacks, his brutish and sensitive, simple and tormented soul materializes. Easily bewitched by Ava Gardner’s alluring femme fatale, Lancaster’s Swede quietly discloses a dreamy, frightened vulnerability with a hint of intelligent torment beneath his arresting features. The only Hemingway-based film of which the author approved, Robert Siodmak’s nihilistic vision of double-crossed double-crossers is tightly bound by moody nocturnal cityscapes, a potent Miklos Rosza score and a spry, brisk script by Anthony Veiller and an uncredited John Huston. The film’s opening death marked the extraordinary birth of a star, hurtling the twenty-three-year-old Lancaster directly into Hollywood’s legendary constellation.