This Side of the Law

This Side of the Law ★★

With the opening voice-over narration and images of a man trapped in an old well, I wondered if I had stumbled on some minor gem of WB noir. Alas, no. The film is quickly unmasked as an insipid, yawn-inducing non-thriller that fails to wring much suspense out of its stolen identity premise or Gothic trappings.

Cinematographer Carl E. Guthrie is the MVP, with dynamic, sometimes eerie compositions that occasionally create the illusion of tension. The other bright spot is Janis Paige as the vampy sister-in-law. She alone delivers a performance that doesn't seem to have been given at gunpoint.