Filmed as if it were a documentary, this gripping film noir was considered a shocker in its day because it centered on the murder of a priest and for its presentation of the corruption and illicit shenanigans that can be found in a… More Filmed as if it were a documentary, this gripping film noir was considered a shocker in its day because it centered on the murder of a priest and for its presentation of the corruption and illicit shenanigans that can be found in a "typical" American small town. It was also one of the first films of its kind to leave the murder formally unsolved and is based on the true story of a murder and trial that occurred in early 1924 in Bridgeport Connecticut. The grim tale begins as an aged priest pauses beneath a street lamp to puff on his pipe. Without warning someone pulls a gun and shoots him in the back of the head in front of a crowd. The police soon arrest a transient and accuse him of the brutal killing. The vagrant, who hadn't slept in days and who was on the brink of starvation confesses. The ambitious states attorney is to prosecute him, but, despite the insistence of his higher-ups who desperately want a scapegoat to soothe the public outrage, his investigation turns up inconclusive evidence. Even testimony from "reliable witnesses" does not fully convince him that the tramp is really guilty. The attorney begins investigating more deeply on his own. Much to the surprise of every one involved and to the detriment of his career, the prosecutor abruptly changes sides and begins defending the transient. He then proceeds to demolish the new prosecutor's case in court and in the end risks his own life to prove that the hobo could not have killed the priest. The story was filmed in the real office, jail cells and courtroom of Stamford, Connecticut. Producer de Rochemont who pioneered the distinguished "March of Time" newsreels helped perfect the documentary style used in this drama.