"Like so many of Nicholas Ray’s protagonists, Henty (Joseph Cotten) is on the run, in search of an ideal space where he can be free of society’s restrictions and expectations. And, like those in Ray’s other films, Henty eventually discovers that no such space exists, and that one must create such an environment themselves. Humphrey Bogart [in In a Lonely Place] and James Dean [in Rebel Without a Cause] each pushed social boundaries past the breaking point; Henty, on the other hand, never pushed anything, but instead kept wandering until, finally, there was no place left to go. So he stopped—and the final note of capitulation is one of the most desolate endings in all of Ray’s work..."
Cullen Gallagher is a Brooklyn-based writer, musician, and curator whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Life Sentence, Moving Image Source, Bright Lights Film Journal, Beat to a Pulp, NoirCon, Crimefactory, Film Comment, The L Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Fandor, Not Coming to a Theater Near You, Hammer to Nail, Spinetingler, Between Lavas, Reverse Shot, and Guitar Review. He records instrumental music as Modern Silent Cinema and plays in the hardcore band Night Squad.