After seeing del Toro's remake earlier this year, it was time to give the original film a fair shot. I've been watching quite a few noirs lately, so my expectations were pretty dim, also because del Toro's version wasn't all that interesting (but it got by on atmosphere). It seems my expectations were on the money.
Stanton works in a traveling circus. There he becomes infatuated with a has-been mindreader. He becomes his apprentice and learns how to con people out of their money. When the man dies, Stanton takes over his job. He has bigger dreams though, and he starts to redirect his attention to the rich and wealthy.
The film is more focused on the plot, though there are a few scenes that get a bit more atmospheric (the ending in particular). But like its remake, the film overstays its welcome as there isn't enough intrigue to fill two hours. It's not the worst noir I've seen, but it's not very memorable or special either.