Cast & Crew
As David Toman, a lonely European refugee and watch maker, strolls upon a bridge one night, he encounters Clara Barker, an unwed mother and former dancer, who is contemplating suicide. The middle-aged David assures her that the morning will seem brighter, and in appreciation, Clara visits David's shop the next day with her infant daughter Judy. David immediately is taken with Judy, explaining that his own two sons and wife were killed by the Nazis. Clara reveals to David that she was distraught the night before because her alcoholic landlady had been hospitalized and would no longer be able to care for Judy while Clara was at work. David is surprised to learn that Clara is unmarried but, wanting to help, offers to babysit while she works. David quickly becomes devoted to Judy, much to the bafflement of his best friend, junk dealer Jonathan Cooper, to whom he explains that Judy's father, musician Mario Venti, was too carefree and restless to marry Clara. Later, Clara informs David that she has been offered a job as a housekeeper in San Diego and that she and Judy will be moving. David, upset at the thought of losing Judy, offers to hire Clara as his own housekeeper, and Clara's initial hesitation is overcome by David's charming insistence. Shortly after, Clara overhears Jonathan's wife call her a "floozy" and speculate that Judy is David's child. When the tearful Clara informs David of the accusations, he is pleased by the thought of fatherhood and tells Clara that Judy should be "protected against stupidity and prejudice." Although David has fallen in love with Clara, he offers her a marriage in name only for Judy's sake. Clara is uncertain, as she feels that she is not good enough for David, but he convinces her and they marry. Clara, who finds that she returns David's feelings, is content with her quiet family life and becomes pregnant. Soon after Clara tells David about the pregnancy, Mario's thuggish cousin, Harry Olson, spots her in David's store and tells Mario. Mario, whose innate decency has often been quashed by the overbearing Harry, is thrilled to learn of Clara's whereabouts and rushes to the shop. There he insults David about his age and the fact that he could win back Clara's affections at any time. When he learns that she is pregnant though, he is overcome by guilt over his cruelty and leaves. Harry is infuriated to learn that Mario refused money that David offered him to leave Clara alone, and the cousins quarrel so violently that Mario threatens to kill Harry if he bothers Clara. The cousins fight again that afternoon, when a drunken Mario strikes at Harry with a heavy ashtray, narrowly missing him. Assuming that David must be wealthy, Harry goes to see him later that night, and, pretending that Mario has sent him, demands that David give him $5,000. Horrified, David states that he has only $300, and when Harry attempts to search for jewels in the back room, where Clara is sleeping, David hits him over the head with a large candlestick. Blinded by panic, David drags Harry's body into his car and dumps him near the ocean. Upon David's return, Jonathan hears him, and David confesses his actions. Jonathan persuades David to retrieve the body and tell the police that he acted in self-defense, but when they reach the shore, the corpse has already been washed away by the tide. The next day, while waiting for news of the discovery of Harry's body, David sells the candlestick for a quarter of its worth. That night, David and Clara read a newspaper account of Harry's murder, which states that Mario has been arrested due to eyewitness testimony about his threats against Harry. Clara is crushed by the news, and David briefly considers turning himself in, but, desperate to hold on to his family, finds that he cannot. David then tells Jonathan that he will confess if Mario is convicted, but will keep silent if he is acquitted. Throughout the trial, David's nervousness grows until he falls ill with a fever. Eventually, Mario is acquitted due to lack of evidence, and the relieved David informs Clara that he would like to help Mario in some way. Unaware that David is his cousin's killer, Mario visits the jewelry store and tells him that he is leaving town but would appreciate receiving sporadic news of Judy's well-being. David, consumed by guilt, goes to the same bridge where he met Clara and, as he imagines Clara's voice praising him for his honesty and decency, decides to jump. Clara wakes up and, noticing David gone, goes outside to see a crowd gathered around the bridge as David's body is retrieved from the water. Later, Mario returns to visit Clara, and as the two look into the water, Mario wonders if David was the bridge between the two of them, and asks if Clara will take him back. When Clara protests that it is too late, as she is carrying David's baby, Mario reminds her that David cared for his own child. Smiling, Clara then takes Mario's arm and the couple walk off the bridge.
Rose Marie Valenzuela
The working title of this film was The Bridge. Harold Byrns's onscreen credit reads: "Music by Harold Byrns Conducting The Los Angeles Chamber Symphony." According to a May 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item, the film was originally picked up for distribution by RKO. According to a November 10, 1950 memo contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, PCA director Joseph I. Breen deemed the script "unacceptable under Code provisions" because "Clara" never shows "self-reproach or guilt" for her earlier misdeeds, presumably having a child out of wedlock. To make the story acceptable, Breen suggested that Clara "would have to recognize her wrongdoing as a sin." In the film, Clara expresses remorse and shame over her past. Breen also complained about "David's" suicide, stating that it shows David "merely flee[ing] reality," instead of demonstrating that "his self destruction was the act of a deranged person." In the film, David's nationality is not specified, nor is he clearly identified as Jewish.