This moody and controversial drama takes place in Depression-era New Orleans. Dove (Laurence Harvey) has traveled by bus from Texas to find his wayward lover Hallie (Capucine). He meets young Kitty Twist (Jane Fonda) as the two get off in the crescent city. Teresina (Anne Baxter) gives him a job at her small cafe. In his free time, Dove searches for Hallie and finds her at work as a prostitute in the Doll's House. Dove implores Hallie to return to him but she refuses. When the lecherous lesbian madame Jo (Barbara Stanwyck) discovers Dove's intentions towards Hallie, she has him beaten to a bloody pulp by her hired goons. He is found by Kitty, now a happy hooker at the Doll House, and is taken back to the cafe where the compassionate Teresina heals his physical and emotional wounds. The film taken from the novel by Nelson Algren is much tamer than the original text. The title track, sung by Brook Benton, was nominated for an Academy Award. The "black-cat stalking" opening and closing sequences (by designer Saul Bass) is a perfect little "film-within-a-film." This footage, with its superb lighting, framing, panning, and editing, should be appreciated by anyone who wants to know more about the art of cinematography.